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At last, Israel’s Netanyahu invited to UAE for COP28

The Israeli leader may have to wait until November, for the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, for his first public visit to the Emirates.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu receives Emirati ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja, Jerusalem, May 22 2023   Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received on Monday a formal invitation to visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the November COP28 climate summit, amid months of delays in securing a first official trip to the Gulf country.

UAE’s Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja handed in person the invitation to Netanyahu, at the premier’s office in Jerusalem. A similar invitation was also extended by the ambassador to Israel’s President Isaac Herzog. It is not clear yet whether it will be Netanyahu or Herzog to lead the Israeli delegation to the conference.

Netanyahu has never made an official visit to UAE despite Abu Dhabi agreeing to normalize relations with Israel in 2020. Netanyahu’s predecessors, Naftali Bennett, Yair Lapid visited the UAE, so did Herzog. 

Tensions with the Palestinians, and Netanyahu’s far-right government have delayed such trip and a one-on-one meeting for the Israeli prime minister with UAE leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed. It is unclear if the invite to COP28 will include a bilateral meeting with Sheikh Mohammed.

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