Welcome and keynote remarks
From December 2 to 4, the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings will host its 13th annual Saban Forum, titled “Challenges for the Trump Administration in the Middle East.” The 2016 Saban Forum will feature remarks by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (via satellite), Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
Relations between the United States and Israel have faced unprecedented tensions in recent years, and the incoming administration has sent conflicting signals about its intentions. The forum’s webcast sessions will focus on America’s role in the world and the Middle East; populist challenges to democracy; relations among religious-nationalist, secular, Arab, and ultra-Orthodox groups within Israel, and the challenge of online recruitment by Islamist extremists.
Over the past 13 years, the Saban Forum has become the premier platform for frank dialogue between American and Israeli leaders from government, civil society, business, and the media. As a result, the Saban Forum is a seminal event, generating new ideas and helping shape the future of the U.S.-Israel relationship.
The Saban Forum has hosted many distinguished leaders, including President Barack Obama, President William J. Clinton, President George W. Bush, Vice President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, HM King Abdullah of Jordan, President Shimon Peres, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and Secretaries of State John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, and Henry Kissinger.
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[Kim Jong Un] did not engage diplomatically at all in those first seven years [as the leader of North Korea], probably because he didn’t want to hear the Chinese nagging him about advancing these weapons. And also he wasn’t going to start bargaining or negotiating them away. ... Kim has done a pivot where he’s doing a maximum engagement.
Having someone [like Andrew Kim, head of the CIA’s Korea Mission Center] with strong links to South Korean officials suggests there’s probably a high level of coordination going on [in preparation for the Trump-Kim summit], which is a good thing.
[On Trump-Moon relationship] It’s not a bad relationship, but I wouldn’t call it a love fest either.