Remarks by President Biden, Prime Minister Lapid, President bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Prime Minister Modi at I2U2 Virtual Event
Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem
1:35 P.M. IDT
MODERATOR: (In progress) — welcome the President of the United States of America, the Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr, and joining us virtually: the Honorable President of the United Arab Emirates, His Royal Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; the Prime Minister of the Republic of India, His Excellency Narendra Modi.
We will begin today’s ITU2 Summit with opening statements from each of the distinguished leaders followed by closed dialogue.
It is my honor to invite the Honorable President of the United Arab Emirates, His Royal Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to deliver his opening statement.
PRIME MINISTER LAPID: We can’t hear him.
MODERATOR: We seem to be having a technical difficulty. Please bear with us.
PRESIDENT BIN ZAYED AL NAHYAN: (As interpreted.) Your Excellency, Prime Minister of the State of Israel; (inaudible) the United States of America; Your Excellency, Prime Minister of the Republic of India: Greetings to you all.
Let me begin by thanking the State of Israel for hosting this first I2U2 Leaders’ Summit.
I also thank the leadership of the United States and India for their participation in the summit and their continued support for the success of the group’s work (inaudible).
This summit is a clear evidence of the great opportunity for cooperation between countries and economies with shared value and goals centered around peace, tolerance, and prosperity.
Our countries do not share geographical border, yet they converge (inaudible) for peace, and their joint action to achieve wellbeing and prosperity.
We, in the UAE, believe that equality offer the best way to achieve peace, security, and progress, especially when governments and people have the will and courage to build partnership and face challenges.
We also believe that only partnership can overcome today’s conflicts and overlapping challenges, the most important of which are food and energy security, climate change, and healthcare.
This is important in the first project of our (inaudible) team, which have focused on food, climate-smart agriculture, solar and wind energy, and energy storage.
As I extend my appreciation to the leaders of the group and the (inaudible) team of the four countries for what has been achieved, I would like to emphasize the importance of giving priority during the coming period to research and development, healthcare and space.
I also call for building on the strength that each of our countries (inaudible) and lead (inaudible).
Dear leader, I look forward today to a fruitful summit and, subsequently, to work with you within the I2U2 group at the bilateral level and within other international platform, the most important of which are the G20 Summit and the Conference of the Party that the UAE will host at its 28th session next year.
I also hope that our whole team will be a model for those who desire peace and prosperity, and will provide evidence for the great opportunity (inaudible) and squandered by blind extremism at the expense of people eager to live a good life.
MODERATOR: Thank you, President. It is my honor to invite the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, His Excellency Yair Lapid, to deliver his opening statement.
PRIME MINISTER LAPID: Thank you, the Honorable President of the United States, Joe Biden; the Honorable President of the United Arab Emirates, His Royal Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; the Honorable Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi.
Friends, this group was born several months ago during a dinner at the home of the UAE ambassador in Washington, D.C. We sat around the table and spoke about how, after we get control over the pandemic, anyone trying to go back to how things used to be would fail. Anyone who understands that we live in a new world with new challenges would succeed and flourish.
That dinner was on a Wednesday evening. A few days later, in what might be a world record in the field of international relations, my friend, Dr. Jaishankar, the Minister of External Affairs of India, was already in my office in Jerusalem; Tony Blinken and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed were on Zoom. And we held the first summit of this quad — the I2U2 forum.
Our starting point was that, in the new world we live in, we need to improve our ability to cooperate quickly to make the most of our comparative advantages to put the right advanced tech together with the right resources.
We need to think in new terms when it comes to energy, food security and water, tech, defense, and trade. Each one of our countries brings very different challenges and very different qualities to the table. But that is what makes our potential even greater.
In the 21st century, challenges are local but solutions are global.
Let me give you two quick examples. The entire world is dealing with issues relating to food security. The combination of the climate crisis, the war in Europe, and the COVID-19 pandemic has created global food insecurity. Food security is going to be the main issue in Africa, in Latin America, in East Asia, and, of course, in the Middle East.
An initiative like the food corridor between India and the UAE, which was put together by this group, is a clear example of a creative solution to a problem we’re all — we are all facing. The fast transportation of food and preservation technologies, the ability to connect relative advantages together — this is the solution to the problem.
Another example is the solar and wind energy storage project. In this case, as well, the idea is to make the most of technological capabilities, some of which are still being developed, in order to deal with an energy market that is facing a serious crisis.
Since the war in Ukraine broke out, each one of us has had to deal with the crisis on the local level. Its effects on cost of living has been immediate and dramatic. And, of course, this has political implications.
Real solutions will only come through cooperation between countries that know how to put together brainpower, knowledge, and resources on the same table.
I would like to emphasize: This is not a philanthropic group. We want to change the world for the better, but we are also creating relative advantages for our countries, for our businesses, for our science sector. In both projects that I mentioned, lists of local companies, relevant technologies have been already — have already been shared. Our goal is for the private market to be a full partner in this initiative.
This group is interesting because we are four very different countries, but when we started talking, it became clear we all want the same things: for our children to be warm in the winter, for them to have food on the table and clean water from the tap, for them to enjoy a quality education and advanced healthcare and transportation infrastructure. We also want to reduce the damage our generation inflicted on climate and the environment.
These are big challenges. No single country, no matter how big or how rich, can deal with them alone. On the other hand, I also believe — and this is part of the idea behind this meeting — that groups that are too big may end up being ineffective.
This quad is, in my view, the correct model. Our advantages are clear to one another, and so are all our needs. We can create enough flexibility and a mechanism that can make fast and smart decisions. At the same time, we can always find ways to create ad hoc connections with countries that want to advance projects with us.
The projects I mentioned are just be- — are just the beginning; the list is ongoing. Our role as leaders is to push our teams as hard as possible, to research the fields in which real change can be made, to examine new projects, to bring them to the table, to connect them with the scientific and business communities.
The world is watching this meeting. This shows that something special is happening here — a new kind of economic and regional cooperation — cooperation that is more flexible and better adapted to the problems we face.
The diplomatic and economic results that we all emerge from — that will emerge from this meeting will highlight our commitment to a new kind of cooperation.
In this partnership, each country and each partner brings their own strength so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
This is just the beginning. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Prime Minister. It is my honor to invite the President of the United States of America, the Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr., to deliver his opening statement.
PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thank you very much, Prime Minister Lapid, for convening this group for the first time at a leaders level.
Prime Minister Modi, President bin Zayed, thank you for the work you’re doing deepening the linkage and the muscle cooperation between critical partners in the Middle East and Indo-Pacific to deliver important — very important projects for all our peoples.
The simple truth is this: The challenge we face in the world, in our world, in the 21st century demand that we find new ways of working together, whether it’s accelerating climate crisis — dealing with the accelerating climate crisis, which is being felt here in the Middle East every single day; or growing food insecurity and volatile energy markets made worse by Russia’s brutal and unprovoked attack against its neighbor, Ukraine; or, as we’ve all experienced firsthand over the past two years, tackling the health security needs and economic fallout from a global pandemic.
All these issues — all these issues require cooperation and coordination. And none of us — none of us can mount a comprehensive response on our own. The more we work together, the more we’ll see the benefits multiply and grow to advance our shared commitment to peace, stability, and growing prosperity. They all go together.
When our foreign ministers first got together in this format last October, I think we all immediately understood the potential to advance a common agenda. It’s about demonstrating the importance of practical impacts of building Israel’s normalization and economic integration using these trusted partnerships to crack down on common challenges.
Our nations represent some of the most innovative, technologically capable, and entrepreneurial people on the planet. At every step — at every step, we should be asking, “What can we achieve together?”
The first two projects that we’re tackling together on food security and clean energy are designed to take on two of the most urgent crises affecting people around the globe: food insecurity. The UAE’s investment to develop integrated agricultural parks across India with the support of the American and Israeli private sector experts has the potential to sustainably increase India’s food yields in the region threefold in just five years.
India is a major, major food producer in the world. Think of the beneficial impacts this will have on India’s farmers and the people suffering from hunger and malnutrition in the region.
Similarly, the United States has already funded a feasible — a feasibility study for a hybrid renewable energy project in India to develop 300 megawatts of wind and solar capacity as well as battery storage.
With our four nations, our four nations working together to unite our expertise and drive private sector investment, this is going to help India reach its climate and energy goal of 500
megawatts [gigawatts] of non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030.
Our challenge — our challenge together is to deliver real results that people can feel in their everyday lives.
Another ker- — key area where we can make big differences is infrastructure. There’s an enormous need around the world
for infrastructure — infrastructure done the right way: transparently, in partnership with the communities that are being served. Right now, there’s a vacuum.
So over the next few years, this group is going to work to identify new infrastructure projects that we can invest in and develop together. Together.
This meeting is just a first step, a chance to demonstrate the value of this new format for cooperation between our four nations. And I’m looking forward to staying closely connected and engaged at the leaders’ level as we build out the scope of the I2U2 and work together for everyone. We can do a great deal if we stick together.
So, I want to thank you all for having this — agreeing to proceed this way. I think we can do some great things. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Mr. President. It is my honor to invite the Prime Minister of the Republic of India, His Excellency Narendra Modi, to deliver his opening statement.
PRIME MINISTER MODI: (As interpreted.) Your Excellency Prime Minister Lapid, your Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Your Excellency President Biden:
First of all, my warmest congratulations and best wishes to Prime Minister Lapid on assuming the office of Prime Minister. My heartfelt thanks to him as well for hosting today’s summit.
This truly is a meeting of strategic partners. We are all good friends as well, and there are a lot of similarities in our approach and in our interests.
Excellencies, Your Highness: The I2U2 has established a positive agenda from its very first summit today. We have identified joint projects in several areas and have also made a roadmap to take them forward. In the I2U2 framework, we have agreed to increase joint investment in six important areas: water, energy, transport, space, health, and food security. It is clear that both the vision and agenda of I2U2 are progressive and practical.
We can give an impetus to our agenda by mobilizing the mutual strengths of our countries that is capital expertise and markets, and we can make an important contribution in this way to the global economy.
In the midst of increasing global uncertainties, our cooperative framework is also a good model for practical cooperation. I am sure that with the I2U2, we will make an important contribution at a global level in the areas of energy security, food security, and economic growth. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you to the distinguished leaders. We will now continue to the closed dialogue between the leaders.
The live broadcast will end here. Thank you to the press. Please kindly make your way out.
1:55 P.M. IDT