Assistant Secretary Barbara Leaf Discusses I2U2, COP28, Negev Forum, and Recent Developments in the U.S.-U.A.E. Relationship


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Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf and U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council President Danny Sebright

The U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council hosted a luncheon discussion with Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf on Wednesday, March 1st 2023. The Assistant Secretary shared insights into the latest developments in the U.S.-U.A.E. bilateral relationship, following her recent trip to the U.A.E. where she participated in the inaugural I2U2 meeting in Abu Dhabi. 

Assistant Secretary Leaf discussed the visit of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, U.A.E. Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, to the U.S. earlier this month, in which he met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. She reviewed key areas of cooperation, such as the Partnership for Accelerating Clean Energy (PACE) Agreement, the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) Initiative, the I2U2, and the Negev Forum. 

Assistant Secretary Leaf commended the U.A.E.’s work to promote opportunities for women and youth in the region and globally in advance of International Women’s Day on March 8th. She also expressed U.S. support for the U.A.E.’s leadership role in global environmental sustainability, especially as it prepares to host COP28 in November 2023.

Assistant Secretary Leaf was appointed to be the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs in May 2022 after serving as the National Security Council Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa for the Biden Administration. She served as the U.S. Ambassador to the U.A.E. from 2015 to 2018. Her career in the U.S. Foreign Service has additionally included postings in Iraq, Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, Egypt, Tunisia, Palestine, and Haiti. 

For more information about this event, please contact Alyssa Kristeller at