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Israel-UAE deal draws varied international reactions as some call it 'good news', others slam it as 'shameful'

Netanyahu terms the agreement the start of a “new era”, UAE calls it “a bold step” to secure a two-state solution.
Updated 14 Aug, 2020 05:53pm

Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced an agreement on Thursday that will lead to a full normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two states, a move that reshapes the order of Middle East politics from the Palestinian issue to Iran.

Under the accord, which US President Donald Trump helped broker, Israel has agreed to suspend annexing areas of the occupied West Bank as it had been planning to do, White House officials said.

It also firms up opposition to regional power Iran, which the UAE, Israel and the United States view as the main threat in the conflict-riven region.

Following are some of the main international reactions to the deal:

Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the deal to normalise ties between the Jewish state and the UAE.

“Today a new era began in the relations between Israel and the Arab world,” he said at a televised press conference.

UAE

The UAE said its deal with Israel was “a bold step” to secure a two-state solution to the long-running Israel-Palestinian conflict.

“Most countries will see this as a bold step to secure a two-state solution, allowing time for negotiations,” the UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told a press conference.

Asked when the two countries will open embassies, he said he did not want to speculate on the timeframe “but it is definitely not a long time”.

United States

US President Trump said the normalisation of relations between the UAE and Israel is a “HUGE breakthrough”.

In a tweet, he called the deal a “Historic Peace Agreement between our two GREAT friends.”

Hamas

The Gaza Strip's Islamist leaders Hamas rejected the agreement, saying it did not serve the Palestinian cause.

“The agreement with the UAE is a reward for the Israeli occupation and crimes,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem told AFP.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called an "urgent meeting" of the Palestinian leadership on the Israel-UAE deal, a statement said.

United Nations

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomes “any initiative that can promote peace and security in the Middle East region”, a UN spokesman said after Israel and the UAE announced the deal.

Iran

Iran's Tasnim news agency, which is affiliated to the country's elite Revolutionary Guards, said the Israel-UAE deal was “shameful”.

Iran's clerical leaders have yet to react to the agreement.

Egypt

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi praised the US-brokered deal between Israel and the UAE.

“I read with interest and great appreciation the joint statement between the United States, the brotherly United Arab Emirates and Israel concerning the halt of Israel's annexation of Palestinian land,” Sisi said in a tweet, adding that this would help bring “peace” to the Middle East.

“I appreciate the efforts of the architects of this agreement for the prosperity and stability of our region,” he said.

In 1979, Egypt and Israel signed the first-ever peace treaty between the Jewish state and an Arab nation, upturning Middle East's diplomatic and military relations.

Egypt has long served as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas that controls the Gaza Strip.

UK

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also welcomed the agreement.

“The UAE and Israel's decision to normalise relations is hugely good news,” Johnson said on Twitter.

“It was my profound hope that annexation did not go ahead in the West Bank and today's agreement to suspend those plans is a welcome step on the road to a more peaceful Middle East.”