The UAE’s Innovative Diplomacy: How the Abraham Accords Changed (or Did Not Change) Emirati Foreign Policy

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Studies in Diplomacy and International Relations


What is the meaning of the Abraham Accords signed in 2020? Are they a turning point in Emirati diplomacy or the culmination of an evolution which began in the wake of the Arab Spring? More the former than the latter because major changes already occurred. Over time, the Emirati leadership has wanted to turn the United Arab Emirates (UAE) into the Switzerland of the Middle East. Strong on economic development and cooperation, the Federation has tried to pacify relations with all countries. Its ability to assimilate good practices and ideas from beyond the Western world is probably the main reason for its success, yet, the UAE has not hesitated to put into practice Western variations of soft power, with a focus on the organization of international events such as Expo 2020 or the COP 28. Such international cooperation, which encompasses fields such as humanitarianism, development, foreign aid, and assistance, is perhaps not innovative per se, but it does mark a new trend in Emirati foreign policy, with which the Abraham Accords are consistent.

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