Participants from Abraham Accords countries hold sporting, culinary events to promote cultural exchange

DUBAI, 31st March, 2022 (WAM) -- The signatories of the historic Abraham Accords the UAE, Israel, Bahrain, and Morocco held a sporting event with the participation of 22 football players, including members from Europe, South America, and Africa, and thousands of fans. The football match, which was the first event to be held as part of a series of programs organized by Abraham Accords signatory countries, took place at the Expo 2020 Dubai site.

The event saw the participation of famous players, including Kaká and Julio Cesar of Brazil, Carlos Puyol and Michel Salgado of Spain, Argentina’s Javier Saviola, Nigeria’s Jay Jay Okocha, Robert Pires, Bacary Sanga and Claude Makélélé of France, and Holland’s Clarence Seedorf.

Abraham Accords signatory countries were represented by Bahkeet Saad, Basheer Saeed, Humaid Fakher, and Waleed Salem Sulaiman of the UAE; Maor Buzaglo, Tal Ben Haim, and Salim Tuama of Israel; and Abdulrahman Zayed, Ahmed Hassan Rashed, and Mahmood Abdulrahman of Bahrain.​ The events were organized by UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja and US Ambassador to Israel Thomas R. Nides in an effort to forge strong people-to-people ties through sports diplomacy and cultural exchange.

Commenting on the event, Ambassador Al Khaja stated that he hopes to see the Accords signatories organize additional joint events "in order to bring the region’s diverse people, cultures, and populations together, and to allow this narrative a brighter, healthier and sustainable narrative for our region to be adopted by the people across our region, including youth, who we need to connect in order to truly carry this forward."

Al Khaja added that "strong peace is based on strong relationships between the citizens of the Abraham Accords countries. We need to continue to get the people of our countries to play, eat, and form partnerships and friendships."

For his part, Israeli Sports and Culture Minister Hili Tropper stated, "Connections between peoples and nations are not only expressed in the signing of agreements. It only starts there. Real connection takes place between us, the people, in heart-to-heart conversations, on sports fields, and in concert halls."

Following the football match, the players, ministers, ambassadors, and guests of honor took part in a special culinary event held by renowned chefs Mohammed Baya of Morocco, Yousif and Salah Zanel of Bahrain, Avivit Priel of Israel, and Khaled Al Saadi of the UAE.

The dinner included the ministers of sport and culture from each of the Abraham Accords countries signing a "Joint Declaration on Culture and Sport for Peace," which will set the stage for additional collaboration in this field