Sunday , November 27 2022

Israeli President Herzog arrives in UAE for first visit


JERUSALEM/ DUBAI: Israeli President Isaac Herzog arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday on the first such visit, seeking to strengthen Gulf ties at a time of heightened regional tensions as world powers try to revive a nuclear deal with Iran.

Sunday’s high-profile diplomatic trip comes more than a month after Naftali Bennett became the first Israeli prime minister to visit the UAE, which normalized ties with Israel in September 2020.

Three other Arab countries, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, also forged diplomatic ties with Israel under the so-called Abraham Accords brokered by the US.

“I will be meeting the leadership of the United Arab Emirates, at the personal invitation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed (al-Nahyan), the crown prince,” Herzog said.

“I wish him well and I am grateful for his courage and bold leadership, carving out a peace agreement with Israel and sending a message to the entire region that peace is the only alternative for the peoples of the region.”

Herzog is also scheduled to meet with the ruler of Dubai and senior government officials and visit the Dubai Expo.

The presidency in Israel is a largely ceremonial post.

Regional security

During Prime Minister Bennett’s visit last month, international talks on Iran’s nuclear program was on agenda.

The UAE, along with Bahrain, signed the US-brokered normalization agreements with Israel at the White House in September 2020, pacts that have angered the Palestinians.

The two Gulf nations and Israel share common concerns about Iran and its allied forces in the region.

Israel on January 18 offered security and intelligence support to the UAE against further drone attacks after a deadly attack by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group, according to a letter released on Tuesday by Israel’s leader. (Int’l Monitoring Desk)

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