Top Israeli diplomat in UAE, pushing for normalization with Arab states
Start Date: 2019/02/07
The Israeli foreign minister, Yisrael Katz, has visited the United Arab Emirates, where he met and held talks with senior authorities as a number of Arab countries in the Persian Gulf region do not shy away from disclosing their clandestine relations with the Tel Aviv following years of secretive contacts.
As Reported by Qods News Agency (Qodsna) Katz arrived in Abu Dhabi on Sunday for a UN environmental conference, where he discussed cooperation against Iran, as well as economic and transport collaboration, Israeli i24NEWS television news network reported.
“I am excited to stand here in Abu Dhabi and to represent the interests of … Israel in front of the … [Persian] Gulf states,” Katz said upon the conclusion of his visit.
“I will continue to work with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to promote the normalization policy with our leading prowess, based on Israel's capabilities, both in the fields of security and intelligence, and in the various civilian arenas. I see this as one of the major challenges in my position as foreign minister, and I intend to continue leading this policy in the future,” he added.
Last year, Israeli culture and sports minister Miri Regev traveled to the UAE to accompany Israel’s judo team at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2018.
Regev arrived in Abu Dhabi on October 26, and she participated in the opening ceremony of the international event at the Emirati capital’s Zayed Sports City, Palestinian Arabic-language Ma’an news agency reported.
Her visit to the UAE marked the first of its kind by an Israeli minister to a Persian Gulf littoral state.
The president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said last December that the then chief of staff of the Israeli military, Gadi Eisenkot, had secretly traveled twice to the UAE a month earlier, and had met with senior officials there.
Mort Fridman said the 59-year-old former Israeli commander-in-chief had met with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan besides a number of high-ranking Emirati military officials, Israel’s Arabic-language MAKAN 33 public television network reported.
The top AIPAC official further noted that an agreement on the sale of Israeli military hardware to the UAE was struck during the meeting.
Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi have no diplomatic ties and the UAE does not recognize Israel, but the two sides have increased backchannel cooperation in recent years. There have been numerous reports of growing contacts between Saudi and Israeli officials too.
Israeli media say the regime’s military chief Gadi Eizenkot has held talks with his Saudi counterpart in Washington as Tel Aviv moves to make its secret ties with Arab governments public.
Among Arab countries, Israel has diplomatic relations only with Egypt and Jordan.
Qods News Agency (Qodsna)