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UAE, Israel Sign 4 Deals, Exempt Citizens from Visas

UAE, Israel Sign 4 Deals, Exempt Citizens from Visas

Wednesday, 21 October, 2020 - 04:45
The UAE and Israel sign four agreements during a historic visit by Emirati officials to Tel Aviv. (WAM)

In what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as a “glorious day of peace”, the United Arab Emirates and Israel signed on Tuesday four cooperation and partnership agreements, including visa exemption.

A delegation of senior Emirati officials visited Israel on Tuesday for the first time since the two countries agreed to normalize relations.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin accompanied the UAE delegation that included Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, Omar Saif Ghobash, UAE Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Cultural Affairs, Younis Haji Al Khoori, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance, and Majid Ali Omran, the Advisor to the Minister of Finance.

The officials flew in on an Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu greeted the delegations at Israel's Ben-Gurion international airport before signing the series of bilateral agreements also include civil aviation, and science and innovation deals.

“Today we are making history. We are making history in a way that will stand for generations,” Netanyahu said at a ceremony stage in a tent on the tarmac. “We will remember this day, a glorious day of peace.”

The ceremony was closed to the media, and the Emirati delegation was to hold all meetings at the airport, apparently over coronavirus concerns.

Ghobash handed a letter to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi from his Emirati counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed in which he requested the opening of a UAE embassy in Tele Aviv.

Al-Tayer said that the Emirates sought to establish legal frameworks with Israel “to achieve prosperity for both our economies and our people.”

"I express my gratitude and appreciation to Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for hosting and welcoming the UAE delegation here in Tel Aviv. The historic peace accord signed was the first step taken towards achieving security and stability in the region, and a means to provide more opportunities for future generations."

Another US official in attendance, International Development Finance Corporation head Adam Boehler, said the three countries would set up a fund, initially projected to raise $3 billion, to encourage private-sector investment and regional cooperation.

He said he envisaged funding to enable the modernization of Israeli-operated checkpoints for Palestinians. Israel says the checkpoints are vital for its security, while Palestinians complain that they hamper their ability to live and work.

Israel and the UAE announced in August they had agreed to normalize ties under a US-brokered deal, and signed accords on the White House lawn in September. In the weeks since, the two countries have signed a raft of business, banking and intergovernmental agreements, along with an end to a longstanding boycott by the UAE against Israel.

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