Thank you to our host His Excellency Minister Al Sayegh and to my distinguished counterparts from India, Secretary Ravi, and from Israel, Director-General Levi.
It’s a pleasure to be here in Abu Dhabi where government officials and business leaders have come together to assess the progress I2U2 has already made and make the connections necessary to take this initiative to the next level.
The I2U2 group was formed during Secretary Blinken’s virtual call with his Emirati, Indian, and Israeli counterparts in October 2021 and was officially launched by President Biden at the inaugural I2U2 Leaders’ Meeting last summer.
Our countries are committed to the shared goals of prosperity, peace, and innovation and we are focused on advancing mutually beneficial economic priorities – a partnership based in cooperation, not competition. This initiative spans regions and sets a precedent for what is possible.
I2U2 provides a new regional platform to deepen economic integration, and an affirmative agenda within the Middle East, Asia, and beyond. It serves as a model for promoting trusted regional partnerships that can create collaborative commercial opportunities and good paying jobs.
It reinforces the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal to build on the Abraham Accords and other normalization agreements and advance Israel’s economic integration into the broader region. It further sets a standard for working together to deliver solutions to the region’s most pressing challenges. The two initial projects promote food security and clean energy in India, and they are innovative, ambitious, achievable, and commercially viable.
My three counterparts and I are committed to moving I2U2 forward. While our initial focus is on initiatives in the four I2U2 countries, we are confident that this model could yield benefits and new opportunities in other parts of the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond, and may consider broadening the scope to other sectors, including technology and semiconductors.
We are excited about the future of I2U2, including our pipeline of projects in solar, wind, rail transport infrastructure – multibillion-dollar initiatives that will take time and expertise.
My team is working closely with our I2U2 counterparts to explore additional projects to tackle food insecurity and advance space cooperation – areas that will require us all to share expertise, adapt to climate challenges, and invest in innovative technology.
We all must do our part and act urgently to respond to the crisis of climate change, and ultimately build a stronger, more sustainable food system for the future. We will be working to identify how climate change will impact our agricultural systems and build resilient food systems which are adapted to frequent and extreme climate impacts. We must ensure that the basic prerequisites for improved agricultural production are in place: good soils and crop varieties adapted to climate change.
We aim to discuss these and other opportunities today. Our strategy is sustained commitment and coordination – we are already on that path.
Thank you again for your presence and your contributions. I look forward to our work and the presentations today.