The Diplomatic Insight Magazine for July 2022

In July, the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, made the first official visit to the Middle East since taking office. During his four-day visit from the 13th to 16th of July, the American President met with several regional leaders.

The President’s trip started in Israel, where he signed the “Jerusalem Declaration,” which reaffirmed the country’s commitment to creating a more robust regional structure, deepening ties with all of its regional allies, advancing Israel’s assimilation in the region over time, and expanding the sphere of coexistence to involve ever more Arab and the Muslim States.

The Saudi government announced that it would provide airspace privileges to all airlines, including Israeli planes after the President made the first official flight of its kind from Israel to Saudi Arabia.

This normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia is the most breakthrough development that resulted from the trip. The relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel also have the potential to reshape the regional political and strategic trajectory.

Increasing regional cooperation and collaboration were recurring themes in the President’s discussions with the leaders of other regional countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Oman, Egypt, and Iraq.

Despite low hopes for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, particularly with an Israeli interim administration, some effort seems to have been put into mending Palestinian-Gulf relations.

The Biden visit sparked some tentative measures toward rapprochement, securing aid from the GCC for the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, which provides health insurance to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

It’s too soon to predict the effect, but it is a promising start. For the following reasons, and possibly more, Vice President Biden’s visit was necessary and effective in advancing US diplomacy and deterrence in the region.

In a rundown towards the main SCO Summit scheduled to be held in September, the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers was hosted by the current Chairman of the organization Uzbekistan.

Foreign Ministers from eight permanent members, four observer states, nine dialogue partners, representatives from other countries, and international organizations were present for this important summit.

The meeting put forward the roadmap and finalized several important thresholds for the upcoming meeting in September.

The most significant development at the CFM meeting in Tashkent is the adoption of the Joint Statement on Strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention, an effective component to enforce the counter-proliferation of biological weapons and prevent their access to terror organizations for wider public safety.

The CFM further signed sixteen decisions while endorsing the cooperation in socio-economics, collective stance on global politics, financial structure, and challenges to SCO. This year SCO is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the SCO Charter’s signing and the 15th anniversary of the Treaty on Long-term Good Neighbourliness, Friendship, and Cooperation among SCO member states.

This treaty and charter are at the core and the heart of the SCO’s regional meaningful cooperation in the diverse sectors.  SCO has expanded across Asia, covering nearly 3.2 billion people with 34 million sq km of land mass.

This region’s GDP contributes nearly 40 percent of the global GDP; with four nuclear powers and an important geostrategic landscape, SCO is an important multilateral institution with tremendous opportunities and challenges.

During the yearlong chairmanship, Uzbekistan has organized more than 80 meetings to enrich the dialogue among countries in the SCO. These events are ongoing, and this year-long chairmanship will culminate in September during the Heads of State Summit meeting in Samarkand.

China will host the heads of Government meetings for high-level engagements on multiple issues of development and connectivity, assuming the leadership role.   SCO is a resilient organization with active membership able to grasp the intensity of geopolitical developments.

The CFM acknowledged the role of SCO in the continued engagement even during the pandemic to consolidate mutual trust and strategic understanding. The promotion of regional integration, facilitation of people-to-people contact, and boosting development remain at the heart of the collective agenda to which CFM stressed to expand and deepen.

In this regard, CFM called on solidarity, sustainability, multilateralism, and ceaseless coordination at the organizational and bilateral levels.