Blinken visits Morocco as US aims to bolster ties with North African allies
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has visited North Africa to meet with estranged regional allies in an effort to shore up ties.
Media reports said on Tuesday that Blinken headed to Morocco where in addition to Moroccan officials he will hold talks with UAE's de facto leader, Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.
Blinken aimed to give assurances to the Persian Gulf Arab state in regard to its concerns about regional and international current affairs, including the Iran nuclear deal, the Saudi-imposed war on Yemen and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, particularly the impact it has had on the global energy market.
Blinken's visit to Rabat comes right after his participation in a condemned normalization attempt, i.e., the Israeli-hosted Negev Summit with four Arab states, namely, the UAE, Morocco, Bahrain and Egypt.
Meanwhile, the US has unsuccessfully tried to persuade allies like the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which both have increasingly important energy ties with Russia, to ramp up their oil production to curb rising global prices.
However, global oil prices surged after retaliatory missile and drone strikes by the Yemenis on Saudi storage facilities rekindled concerns triggered by the Ukraine-Russia conflict over supply shortages.
In this regard, UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said on Tuesday that they needed "to look at the objective of the energy and what we're asking for is not to tell us 'do this' or 'do that.'"
Earlier this month, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck headed to the Persian Gulf to secure short and middle term energy deals.
Since Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine last month there has been a rising demand for Persian Gulf energy by European states seeking to replace Russian gas as the conflict stokes fears of a devastating crisis in winter.
"Energy is coming back as a major component of many of the Middle East and, indeed, world discussions. What people thought was the death of fossil fuels is, I think, a little bit premature," Senior Emirati official, Anwar Gargash, said on Tuesday.