Israel, UAE discuss establishment of embassies

Director General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry Alon Ushpiz said that in talks with UAE officials the two countries are discussing the establishment of embassies.

al-monitor Israeli delegation meets with UAE counterparts, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Aug. 31, 2020. Photo by Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Sep 1, 2020

Foreign Ministry Director General Alon Ushpiz confirmed last night from Abu Dhabi that the Israeli and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) delegations are discussing the establishments of embassies. "Before arriving here [at the negotiation table] I met for over an hour with the foreign minister of the Emirates, and here we are with a team of their Foreign Ministry. We are talking mostly about two issues. We are discussing the signature of all of the agreements that will enhance cooperation between the two countries, and we are talking about the establishment of embassies."

Speaking to Israel’s public broadcaster Kan, Ushpiz said that the Israeli Embassy would be located in Abu Dhabi, and believes the UAE Embassy would probably be located in Tel Aviv. "The chemistry in these talks is completely different from other diplomatic discussions. What we have here are two sides that now meet officially, after more than 20 years of meetings behind closed doors. In my meeting with UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash, as in the meetings here inside the room, what keeps being repeated is that 'we want to wrap this up quickly.'"

According to reports in the Israeli press, flights from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi are expected to be established within a few months. Ushpiz told the press, “Movement of people, goods and finance is the central key to realizing the great potential in the relations." An unnamed Emirati diplomat told the Israeli press she expects many locals to visit Israel when there are regular flights between the countries.

Speaking at a press conference in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he extended an invitation for a UAE delegation to visit Israel. “We’ll give them the same red carpet [greeting] they gave us,” said Netanyahu, explaining that the invitation was extended by national security adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, who heads the Israeli delegation. Netanyahu did not say whether the UAE accepted the invitation, but noted, "I have asked the [Israeli] delegation to work as fast as possible to nail down the peace deal with the UAE. … [Peace] will be a different peace — this will be a warm peace, a peace that will bring the two peoples together.”

The Israeli and American delegations that arrived to Abu Dhabi Aug. 31 are expected to return tonight, wrapping up talks in the fields of diplomacy, finances, health, space, science, investments, innovation and commerce. Ushpiz said that the word "weapons" had not come up in the talks.

UAE Foreign Ministry Director of Policy Planning Jamal al-Musharakh said today that normalization of ties between the two countries will not be reversed if Israel extends its sovereignty to parts of the West Bank.

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