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Antony Blinken expects other countries to sign onto Abraham Accords this year

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he anticipates more normalization agreements for Israel in the next year.

Blinken spoke Wednesday evening in Washington, D.C., at the Israeli Embassy’s virtual celebration of that nation’s Independence Day, or Yom Haatzmaut. He was joined virtually by Israel’s U.S. ambassador, Gilad Erdan.

“The United States welcomes and supports the recent normalization agreements,” Blinken said, referring to the Abraham Accords brokered last year by the Trump administration between Israel and four Arab states.

“We will continue to urge more countries to normalize relations with Israel — and will look for other opportunities to expand cooperation among countries in the region. As a result, I expect Israel’s group of friends to grow even wider in the year ahead.”

The Biden administration has pledged to sustain the Trump administration’s normalization push. Other countries believed to be considering normalization with Israel include Oman and Saudi Arabia.

Under the Trump administration, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain established full ties with Israel, and Sudan and Morocco launched the process.

There were concerns that President Joe Biden would not maintain the incentives to normalize relations with Israel, chief among them the sale of stealth combat aircraft to the UAE. Congressional aides this week told Reuters that the White House had greenlighted the sale, however.

Also delivering good wishes at the virtual event were the top Democrat and Republican in the Senate: Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the majority leader, and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the minority leader.

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