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Home / World / Israel PM in ‘historic’ UAE visit, Crown Prince hosts Bennett

Israel PM in ‘historic’ UAE visit, Crown Prince hosts Bennett

The Palestinians, whose diplomacy with the Jewish state has been stalled since 2014, have deplored the rapprochement
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (left) with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed at his private palace in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (left) with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed at his private palace in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
AP/PTI

Reuters   |   Abu Dhabi   |   Published 14.12.21, 01:48 AM

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan hosted Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday in the first ever public meeting between the UAE’s de facto ruler and an Israeli leader.

Israel’s ambassador to Abu Dhabi said the issue of Iran was on the agenda for their talks, which follow the formalisation of Israel-UAE relations last year under a US-led regional initiative.

 While shared concern about Iranian activity was among reasons for the diplomatic moves, the UAE has also been trying to improve relations with Tehran.

 Releasing photographs of Bennett and Sheikh Mohammed smiling and shaking hands, the Israeli leader’s office described the meeting as “historic”.

 A statement on state news agency WAM said Sheikh Mohammed voiced hope for “stability in the Middle East” and that Bennet’s visit would “advance the relationship of cooperation towards more positive steps in the interests of the people of the two nations and of the region”. The Palestinians, whose diplomacy with Israel has been stalled since 2014, have deplored the Israeli-Emirati rapprochement.

 Israeli ambassador Amir Hayek declined to elaborate on any discussion of Iran but he told Israel’s Army Radio: “The Prime Minister did not only come here solely to address the Iranian issue.”

 With world powers now trying to renew the Iran nuclear deal, Abu Dhabi last week sent an envoy to Tehran. A US delegation is due in the UAE this week to warn Emirati banks against non-compliance with sanctions on Iran.

 Iran is Israel’s arch-foe, but it has not been mentioned publicly by Bennett since he set off on Sunday to the UAE with pledges to promote bilateral commerce and other forms of civilian cooperation.

 The Israel Hayom newspaper, quoting unnamed officials, said Bennett was expected to brief Sheikh Mohammed on intelligence regarding Iranian-supplied militias and drones in the region.



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