? BLOG UPDATE | Jan 21, 2020
US officials reveal that several more peace agreements could have been reached with Muslim countries if Donald Trump would have stayed in the White House.
Over the past six months, five countries have signed peace agreements with Israel in order to normalize ties between the nations, and Mauritania and Indonesia were set to be the next ones in line, according to two US officials.
The five agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan and Bhutan were brokered by the Trump administration, but as he is leaving the White House, the hope of forging diplomatic ties with Mauritania and Indonesia might be fading.
According to the Times of Israel, who talked to the two US officials, a deal with Mauritania in Northwestern Africa was just weeks away.
Back in 1999, Mauritania became the third member of the Arab League to recognize Israel as a sovereign state, but since the 2008-2009 war in Gaza, relations between the two countries have been anything but friendly.
As a result of the Gaza war, Mauritania recalled its ambassador from Israel, and the Jewish state closed its embassy in the northwestern African nation.
By 2010, Mauritania and Israel officially put an end to their diplomatic ties.
Mauritania trusts “the wisdom” of the UAE
Donald Trump’s team of peace negotiators, led by his senior advisor, Jared Kushner, and the Special Representative for International Negotiations, Avi Berkowitz, saw Mauritania as a plausible candidate to sign an agreement with Israel, as the two countries have already been on friendly terms in the past.
When the peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates was announced in August 2020, the Foreign Ministry of Mauritania said that it trusted “the wisdom and good judgment” of the United Arab Emirates.
“The UAE possesses absolute sovereignty and complete independence in conducting its relations and assessing the positions it takes in accordance with its national interest and the interests of Arabs and Muslims,” the Mauritanian Foreign Ministry is quoted for saying.
Talks with Saudi Arabia and Oman
If Donald Trump would have had an additional month or two in the Oval Office, an agreement with Indonesia could have been reached, the two US officials said.
As a normalization between Israel and Indonesia got closer and closer, a senior administration official told Bloomberg in December 2020 that the United States had offered Indonesia a $2 billion increase in development aid.
“If they are ready, they are ready, and if they are, then we will be happy to even support more financially than what we do,” Adam Boehler, CEO of US International Development Finance Corporation, told Bloomberg.
With a population of 267 million people where 86% identifies as Muslim, Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim community.
Since the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates was reached almost half a year ago, rumors have been swirling about other Muslim countries seeking to make peace with the world’s only Jewish state.
Among them are Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Oman.
Donald Trump’s peace negotiation team has revealed that it has been in talks with the two latter countries but that it would take more time to work out deals with them.