WASHINGTON: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel have agreed to fully normalise their relations, US President Donald Trump announced on Thursday while unveiling a trilateral document outlining key points of the peace deal.

“HUGE breakthrough today! Historic Peace Agr­ee­ment between our two GREAT friends, Israel and the United Arab Emirates!” President Trump wrote in a tweet.

Israeli Prime Minister Ben­jamin Netanyahu resp­ond­ed to Trump’s tweet by writing in Hebrew: “Histo­ric day”.

This is only the third Israel-Arab peace deal since the Jewish state’s creation in 1948. Egypt signed a deal in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

President Trump also tweeted a link to a joint US-UAE-Israeli statement, detailing how the agreement was reached and how it would impact the region.

Netanyahu calls it ‘historic day’; UAE envoy terms accord ‘a win for diplomacy’

“President Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE armed forces, spoke today and agreed to the full normalisation of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates,” the joint statement announced.

According to this document, delegations from Israel and the United Arab Emirates will meet in the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements.

“As a result of this diplomatic breakthrough and at the request of President Trump with the support of the United Arab Emirates, Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the President’s vision for peace and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world,” the statement added.

“All Muslims who come in peace may visit and pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque, and Jerusalem’s other holy sites should remain open for peaceful worshippers of all faiths.”

The United States, Israel and the United Arab Emirates said they were “confident that additional diplomatic breakthroughs with other nations are possible and will work together to achieve this goal”.

The bilateral agreements between Israel and UAE will cover investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, healthcare, culture, the environment, the establishment of reciprocal embassies, and other areas of mutual benefit.

The joint statement hoped that opening direct ties between two of the Middle East’s most dynamic societies and advanced economies would transform the region by spurring economic growth, enhancing technological innovation, and forging closer people-to-people relations. “Working together, these efforts will help save Muslim, Jewish, and Christian lives throughout the region,” it added.

The United Arab Emirates and Israel also agreed to immediately expand and accelerate cooperation regarding the treatment of and the development of a vaccine for coronavirus.

In Washington, UAE’s ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba issued a statement, saying that the agreement was “a win for diplomacy and for the region”.

“It is a significant advance in Arab-Israeli relations that lowers tensions and creates new energy for positive change,” he said.

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said in a statement that “the United States hopes this brave step will be the first in a series of agreements that ends 72 years of hostilities in the region”.

The joint statement said that “this historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East region” and was “a testament to the bold diplomacy and vision of the three leaders and the courage of the United Arab Emirates and Israel to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential in the region”.

`Strategic agenda’

The document explained that the US, UAE, and Israel “face many common challenges and will mutually benefit from today’s historic achievement”.

This normalisation of relations and peaceful diplomacy will bring together two of America’s most reliable and capable regional partners, said the joint statement, hoping that “Israel and the

United Arab Emirates will join with the United States to launch a “strategic agenda for the Middle East to expand diplomatic, trade, and security cooperation”.

The statement said the United States and Israel “recall with gratitude the appearance of the United Arab Emirates at the White House reception held on Jan 28, 2020, at which President Trump presented his “vision for peace, and express their appreciation for United Arab Emirates’ related supportive statements”.

The parties agreed to continue their efforts to achieve a just, comprehensive, and enduring resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan express their deep appreciation to President Trump “for his dedication to peace in the region and to the pragmatic and unique approach he has taken to achieve it”, the joint statement said.

Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2020

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