Israel: Ex-Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen appointed head of diplomacy (Netanyahu)

Former Israeli intelligence minister Eli Cohen, who played an important role in normalizing relations between Israel and Arab countries, was named Israeli foreign minister Thursday by Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mr. Netanyahu announced the appointment of Mr. Cohen during a speech in Parliament presenting the orientations of his government which must be ratified Thursday by a vote of the parliamentarians and succeed the motley coalition led by outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

In mid-2020, Israel announced the normalization of its relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, then with Sudan and Morocco, within the framework of the “Abraham Accords”.

In January 2021, Mr. Cohen led the first official delegation led by an Israeli minister to Khartoum in the wake of the normalization of relations between these two countries.

He takes office at a time when Benjamin Netanyahu seeks to extend the « Abraham Accords » to Saudi Arabia.

“We have laid the foundation for Saudi Arabia to join the Abraham Accords. The secret details will be passed on to the new Prime Minister,” Mr. Lapid told Parliament on Thursday without elaborating on these “secret details”.

« If the new government continues on the path it has started, normalization with the Saudis could occur in the short term, » added the outgoing Prime Minister.


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