Biden and Netanyahu welcome IMEC | World News - Hindustan Times
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Biden and Netanyahu welcome IMEC

By, New York
Sep 21, 2023 04:04 AM IST

The Biden-Netanyahu meeting came at a difficult time in the bilateral US-Israel relationship.

US President Joe Biden and Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu have welcomed the recent announcement of the India-Middle East-Europe economic corridor (IMEC) on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Delhi.

U.S. President Joe Biden holds a bilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the 78th U.N. General Assembly in New York City, U.S., September 20, 2023. (REUTERS)
U.S. President Joe Biden holds a bilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the 78th U.N. General Assembly in New York City, U.S., September 20, 2023. (REUTERS)

A White House readout of the meeting between the two leaders in New York on Wednesday noted that they had spoken about progress towards establishing “a more integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Middle East region, including through efforts to deepen and expand normalisation with countries in the region”.

READ | Joe Biden speaks with Netanyahu amid Israeli-Palestinian clashes

In this backdrop, the White House statement said, the two leaders “welcomed the historic announcement made at the G20 to develop the India Middle East Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) through the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel”. Biden and Netanyahu also “discussed how the project can benefit the entire Middle East region with investment and new forms of collaboration across two continents.”

Israel isn’t an official part of the IMEC initiative but has welcomed the announcement separately, and observers have linked it to the quiet and public efforts underway to establish normal diplomatic ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia. In its briefings on the corridor, US officials have said the initiative is a part of the American strategy to “lower the temperature” in the region and advance connectivity.

READ | Middle-East Corridor is new Indian spice route to rival the Chinese silk road

Separately, on Thursday, I2U2 — the grouping that includes India, Israel, US and UAE — is expected to make a major announcement. The details of what is to be unveiled haven’t been disclosed yet.

In his own speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Biden had hailed the corridor, saying that “the groundbreaking effort” announced at the G20 in India — “to connect India to Europe through the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel” — will spur opportunities and investment across two continents.

“This is part of our effort to build a more sustainable, integrated Middle East. It demonstrates how Israel’s greater normalisation and economic connection with its neighbors is delivering positive and practical impacts even as we continue to work tirelessly to support a just and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians — two states for two people.”

The Biden-Netanyahu meeting came at a difficult time in the bilateral US-Israel relationship, with Washington expressing concern over what is widely seen as the Israeli government’s attempts to control the judiciary and its belligerence in West Bank.

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