JERUSALEM/ABU DHABI: Israel on Sunday said it has opened its embassy in the United Arab Emirates, following through on last years US-brokered agreement to establish full diplomatic ties with the Gulf country.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said the embassy would be in a temporary office while a permanent location is prepared. Eitan Naeh, a veteran Israeli diplomat, will serve as the head of mission.

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said the opening of the new embassy would allow the broadening of what already are warm ties between Israel and the UAE. Since formally establishing ties in September, the two countries have already established direct flights and exchanged numerous trade delegations, while thousands of Israeli tourists have visited the UAE.

The UAE was the first of four Arab countries to establish or renew ties with Israel under a series of agreements brokered by the Trump administration.

The Foreign Ministry said Israel would soon open an interest section in Morocco and a consulate in Dubai. It also said an embassy in Bahrain has been operating for several weeks.

UAE gives green light for embassy in Tel Aviv

The UAE on Sunday approved the establishment of the country’s first embassy in Israel, more than four months after it signed a normalisation deal with the Jewish State.

“The government approves the creation of the embassy of the United Arab Emirates to Tel Aviv, in the state of Israel,” it announced on Twitter.

The UAE, along with Bahrain, signed a US-brokered deal in September to normalise relations with the Jewish state.

The agreements, known as the “Abraham Accords”, shattered a longstanding Arab consensus that there should be no normalisation with Israel until it reaches a comprehensive peace deal with the Palestinians.

The Palestinians condemned the agreements as a “stab in the back”.

Earlier this month, Sudan also signed the accords, becoming the third Arab country to do so and the fourth to normalise diplomatic relations with the Jewish state in as many months. Morocco also normalised ties with Israel in December, in a diplomatic quid pro quo that saw Washington back Moroccan rule over the disputed Western Sahara region.

Until last year, only Egypt, in 1979, and Jordan, in 1994, had normalised ties with Israel.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2021

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