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Israeli foreign minister Lapid to visit Emirates next week

Yair Lapid will be the first Israeli minister to visit the United Arab Emirates, as former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's planned trip earlier this year fell through.
Israeli alternate prime minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid arrives to chair the first weekly cabinet meeting of his new government in Jerusalem, on June 20, 2021.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next week, the first by a senior Israeli official since the two countries normalized relations by signing the Abraham Accords last year. 

Lapid will undertake a two-day visit on June 29-30 as a guest of Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The Israeli foreign minister will also inaugurate the Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Israeli Consulate in Dubai while there, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release on Monday. 

Israel and the UAE established full diplomatic and economic relations last year as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords. The Emirates was only the third country in the Arab world to recognize Israel. Abu Dhabi’s decision led to Bahrain and Morocco also normalizing ties with Israel. 

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose government negotiated the Abraham Accords, wanted to visit in March, but the Israeli elections forced the visit to be postponed. 

Lapid, who assembled the coalition government that unseated Netanyahu, serves as alternate prime minister.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennet called Lapid’s trip “historic” in a tweet on Monday. 

A UAE delegation also visited Israel last October. It was the first such visit by Emirati officials to Israel. 

The UAE ambassador to Israel, Mohamed Al Khaja, also met with Lapid on Monday, according to the Emirati Embassy. 

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