SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 26 May 2024, Sunday |

Israel inaugurates new embassy in Abu Dhabi during FM’s first UAE visit

Israel’s new foreign minister inaugurated its embassy in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday and offered an olive branch to other former adversaries, saying: “We’re here to stay.”

During the minister’s two-day visit to the Gulf, Yair Lapid was also due to inaugurate a consulate in Dubai and sign a bilateral agreement on economic cooperation.

The trip is an opportunity for the two-week-old Israeli government of Naftali Bennett, a nationalist who heads an improbable cross-partisan coalition, to make diplomatic inroads.

“Israel wants peace with its neighbors – with all its neighbors. We aren’t going anywhere. The Middle East is our home,” Lapid said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Abu Dhabi high-rise office serving as a temporary embassy.

“We’re here to stay. We call on all the countries of the region to recognize that,” he said, according to a transcript.

Brought together by shared worries about Iran and hopes for commercial boons, the UAE and Bahrain normalized relations with Israel last year under so-called “Abraham Accords” crafted by the US administration of President Donald Trump.

Sudan and Morocco have since also cultivated Israel ties.

Tuesday’s agreement will be the 12th between Israel and the UAE, Lior Haiat, spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, said. Lapid is also set to visit the site of Expo 2020 Dubai, a world fair opening in October where Israel has built a pavilion.

The UAE formally opened its embassy in Israel, temporarily located in the Tel Aviv stock exchange, to little fanfare this month.

The consulate in Dubai is similarly located in temporary premises.

    Source:
  • Reuters