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Egypt, UAE, Israel hold summit talks in Red Sea resort

Egypt, UAE, Israel hold summit talks in Red Sea resort
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By Reuters
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CAIRO -Leaders of Egypt, Israel and the United Arab Emirates met in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Tuesday for talks Egypt said covered energy markets and food security, while analysts said they were also likely to address Iran's regional influence.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi hosted the meeting with UAE de facto leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett - their first three-way summit since the UAE normalised relations with Israel.

Egypt's presidency said they discussed the stability of energy markets and food security, as well as international and regional issues, without elaborating.

The UAE along with Saudi Arabia has resisted Western calls to hike oil output and contain a jump in crude prices caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine last month.

The three countries at Tuesday's talks - allies and partners of the United States - are part of an emerging Arab-Israeli axis seeking to counter-balance Iranian power at a time of uncertainty over Washington's security commitment in the region.

"The leaders discussed the ties between the three countries in the context of recent developments in the world and the region, and the ways to strengthen them on all levels," a statement from Bennett's office said.

IRAN CONCERNS

Shared concerns over Iran saw the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain forge ties with Israel in 2020. Egypt was the first Arab state to sign a peace treaty with Israel four decades ago.

Gulf states are not parties to the talks to revive a 2015 nuclear pact with Iran that they have criticised for not addressing Iran's missiles programme and regional proxies, including in Yemen.

Bennett said last month that a U.S.-Iranian deal taking shape to restore the nuclear accord is weaker than the original arrangement and would lead to a more violent Middle East.

Egypt is facing particular challenges in the areas of energy and food security after the war in Ukraine pressured emerging market economies, prompting Cairo on Monday to devalue its currency by 14%.

The war has also left Egypt facing higher costs for its substantial wheat import needs as well as a loss in tourism revenue from Russian and Ukrainian visitors to Red Sea resorts. Russia and Ukraine are the main suppliers of wheat to Egypt, which is often the world's largest importer.

Egypt has called for financial support from wealthy Gulf states in the past.

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