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  • An Israeli delegation, joined by senior US officials, departed from Tel Aviv Monday to Abu Dhabi in Israel's first commercial flight to the United Arab Emirates. August 31, 2020.

    An Israeli delegation, joined by senior US officials, departed from Tel Aviv Monday to Abu Dhabi in Israel's first commercial flight to the United Arab Emirates. August 31, 2020. | Photo: Tomer Neuberg/JINI via Xinhua

Published 31 August 2020
Opinion

The Israeli delegation, joined by senior U.S. officials, departed Tel Aviv on Monday to Abu Dhabi in Israeli's first commercial flight to the United Arab Emirates.

The two-day visit will include working meetings to sign various cooperation deals, following the US-brokered agreement to normalize diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE, announced on August 13.

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Headed by U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien and Senior U.S. Presidential Advisor Jared Kushner, the U.S. government delegation joins Israel's chief of National Security Council, Meir Ben Shabbat, in a series of trilateral meeting with their UAE counterpart, Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to discuss the areas of diplomacy, finance, aviation and entry visas, health, culture and tourism, space, science and investments, innovation and trade, according to the Israeli Prime Minister's office.

"Our goal is to achieve a joint work plan to promote the relationship in a very wide range of areas," said Ben Shabbat in a statement ahead of the departure.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that there are "many more unpublicized meetings with Arab and Muslim leaders" during joint remarks alongside O'Brien and Kushner in Jerusalem."

The joint delegation, accompanied by Adam Boehler of the recently created U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, arrives in Abu Dhabi just days after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered his speech at the Republican National Convention from Jerusalem. Pompeo's speech followed an unsuccessful tour in the Middle East and North Africa to convince Oman, Sudan, and Bahrain to follow the UAE in normalizing relations with Israel, which they refused to do. 

In normalizing relations with Israel, the UAE became only the third Arab nation to fully recognize the State of Israel; a move met with criticism by Iran, whose Foreign Ministry called the agreement "a dagger that was unjustly struck by UAE in the backs of the Palestinian people and all Muslims."

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