U.S. Representatives Lawler and Torres Secure Passage of Bill Creating Special Envoy for Abraham Accords

A bill aimed at establishing a crucial diplomatic position within the U.S. State Department, the Special Envoy for the Abraham Accords, has successfully passed through both chambers of the United States Congress. The bipartisan effort behind this legislation, introduced by U.S. Representatives Mike Lawler of New York’s 17th district and Ritchie Torres of New York’s 15th district, culminated in a resounding approval within the National Defense Authorization Act of 2024 (NDAA).

Once the bill is formally signed into law by President Joe Biden, it will mandate the creation of a high-ranking diplomatic post within the State Department: the Special Envoy for the Abraham Accords. These groundbreaking accords, officially sanctioned by the United States in 2020 and 2021, led to the normalization of relations between Israel and several Arab nations, including Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Morocco, and Sudan. The newly appointed Special Envoy will be tasked with orchestrating diplomatic efforts on behalf of the U.S. government, working closely with regional ambassadors, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders. Their overarching goal will be to fortify and expand the Abraham Accords, fostering lasting peace in the Middle East.

Representative Mike Lawler (NY-17) expressed his enthusiasm for the bill’s passage, stating, “Today, the House passed the NDAA by a broad bipartisan vote. This year’s NDAA included policy Rep. Torres and I championed to establish the position of Special Presidential Envoy for the Abraham Accords, Negev Forum, and Related Integration and Normalization Fora and Agreements at the State Department. This is a momentous step towards long-term peace in the Middle East.” He went on to emphasize the United States’ unwavering commitment to bolstering and expanding these historic agreements that marked the first normalization of relations between Israel and Arab-majority countries in two decades.

In addition, Lawler highlighted the potential for further partnerships, stating, “In establishing this diplomatic envoy, we also increase the prospects of bringing additional partners into the Accords, including Saudi Arabia. This feat is something Rep. Torres and I have been working on all year to achieve. H.R.3099, the Special Envoy for the Abraham Accords Act, was my first bill to pass the House. That bill passed the House 413 to 13. With today’s vote, language establishing a Special Presidential Envoy is on its way to the White House, where President Biden is expected to sign it into law.”

Echoing the sentiment of bipartisanship and the importance of the Abraham Accords, Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15) remarked, “Building a bridge between Israel and the Arab world is neither a Democratic value nor a Republican value — it is an American value. The Abraham Accords are an affirmation of Arab-Israeli peace and must be protected and strengthened.” Torres underlined the significance of this development, particularly during a time of increased uncertainty regarding Israel’s future and ongoing conflicts, saying, “Today, with the full passage of this bill in the House, we are bending the long arc of the Middle East in its proper direction – toward peace and prosperity for Jewish people, Christians, and Muslims.”

Torres emphasized the crucial role of the U.S.-Israel relationship, asserting, “And especially at this moment of increased uncertainty about Israel’s future as the war with Hamas rages on, it is more important than ever that we fight to protect Israel’s global standing and partnerships. The U.S.-Israel relationship is sacrosanct, and today’s vote is further proof of that.”

The passage of this bill marks a significant step forward in the ongoing efforts to promote peace and stability in the Middle East, highlighting the United States’ commitment to fostering diplomatic solutions and strengthening international partnerships.

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