Israel uses Abraham Accords ties to encourage Middle Eastern allies to condemn Russia
Mar 4, 2022 | Ahron Shapiro
The US has thanked Israel for lobbying its friendly neighbours and allies to vote in the UN General Assembly to criticise Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides tweeted:
— Ambassador Tom Nides (@USAmbIsrael) March 2, 2022
In particular, Israel was praised for reportedly convincing its Abraham Accords partner the United Arab Emirates to change its vote and support the censure. According to the Times of Israel:
At the request of the US, Israel helped convince the United Arab Emirates to back a UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, the Walla news site reports.
Citing American and Israeli officials, the report says the Biden administration contacted Israel for help after the UAE abstained on a UN Security Council resolution condemning Russia in protest of the US response to a deadly attack on Abu Dhabi by Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.
An Israeli official is quoted saying Foreign Minister Yair Lapid phoned his Emirati counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed to encourage the UAE to vote in favor of the General Assembly resolution
Earlier, the UAE had abstained in a UN Security Council vote on the same matter in protest at perceived US inaction following recent rocket attacks by Houthi rebels in Yemen on Abu Dhabi and the earlier US decision to lift the terror designation from the Houthis.
The UAE, like many other countries in and around the Middle East including Israel, Egypt, Syria, Iran and Libya, has complicated defence, cultural and trade relationships with Russia – either directly or indirectly.
Russia is the world’s largest exporter of oil to global markets and the second-largest crude oil exporter behind Saudi Arabia. Russia, holds one-third of the world’s largest natural gas reserves, and in 2021, provided 45% of EU gas imports and close to 40% of its total gas consumption. As such, Russia holds particular leverage overdeveloped and developing countries alike. Similar to its high energy market share, Russia is the world’s bread basket for many countries and sanctions on Russia can impact the food security of many countries. Together with war-torn Ukraine, the two countries produce nearly a quarter of the world’s wheat.