Reuters / October 19, 2020
DUBAI – The cabinet of the United Arab Emirates on Monday approved an agreement to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel that was signed in Washington last month, ahead of the first official visit by a UAE government delegation to Israel.
The UAE and fellow Gulf state Bahrain in September became the first Arab states in a quarter of a century to sign agreements to establish formal ties with Israel, forged largely through shared fears of Iran.
“Together the UAE and Israel will stand better prepared to confront the malign threats from the Iranian regime, their proxies, and other extremist groups,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi.
His televised remarks were made at the first Abraham Accords Business Summit held on Monday with the participation of Israeli delegations.
Mnuchin and other U.S. dignitaries will accompany the UAE government delegation to Israel on Tuesday. He arrived in Abu Dhabi from Bahrain, where U.S. officials joined an Israeli delegation on a trip to Manama to sign a communique formalising nascent ties.
The UAE cabinet statement said the Abraham Accord would be “an avenue of peace and stability to support the ambitions of the region’s people, and enhance efforts for prosperity and advancement, especially as it paves the way for deepening economic, culture and knowledge ties.”
Israel had ratified the deal in a cabinet vote and a parliamentary vote last week.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a speech to parliament on Monday, said the historic treaties would bring real peace between peoples, including economic peace.
“Especially at a time of the coronavirus, this is so important. A peace of investments that will strengthen our economy and allow us to help the citizens of Israel even more,” he said.
Israel and the UAE have already signed several commercial deals since mid-August, when they first announced they would normalise ties.
They will ink a deal on Tuesday to allow 28 weekly commercial flights between Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Israel’s Transportation Ministry has said
On Monday, they reached a bilateral agreement that will give incentives and protection to investors who make investments in each other’s countries.
Reporting by Lisa Barrington, Nafisa Eltahir and Dan Williams; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Alison Williams and Hugh Lawson