2 years of Abraham accords: FM UAE reaches Israel

The surprise step, under the US-brokered Abraham Accords, broke with decades of Arab consensus that ruled out formal ties while the Palestinian conflict was unresolved.

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The foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed arrived in Tel Aviv on Wednesday for an official visit to Israel, marking two years since the countries signed the so-called Abraham Accords, the state news agency (WAM) reported.

The U.S.-brokered agreements have ushered in public rapprochements between Israel and several Arab states, with the UAE and Bahrain the first to sign the accords with Israel in September 2020, at the White House.

Israel and Sudan announced in the following month that they would normalise relations, and Morocco established diplomatic ties with Israel in December last year.

Bin Zayed, who is travelling with a high-level delegation, will stay for several days, the UAE’s WAM added.

Abraham Accords, still a stab in the back

Watched by then US president Donald Trump, the UAE and Gulf neighbour Bahrain formally recognised Israel on September 15, 2020 in Washington, prompting Palestinian accusations of a “stab in the back”.

The surprise step, under the US-brokered Abraham Accords, broke with decades of Arab consensus that ruled out formal ties while the Palestinian conflict was unresolved.

Read more: Israeli president accepts Abu Dhabi crown prince invitation to visit UAE

However, it marked a thaw in the region, with Morocco and Sudan soon following suit and regional power Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil producer, allowing some overflights from the Jewish state.

The economic benefits have come quickly for the UAE and Israel, who signed a series of deals ranging from tourism to aviation and financial services.

Economic prosperity for UAE

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid made a landmark visit to the UAE in July, opening an embassy in Abu Dhabi and a consulate in Dubai, while the UAE established an embassy in Tel Aviv.

“After a year of the Abraham Accords, we have a story to say,” UAE Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri told a panel discussion by the Atlantic Council, a US think-tank, on Monday.

Read more: Israeli PM lands in UAE to finalize free trade deal

“We exchanged ambassadors, we have signed over 60 MOUs (memorandums of understanding). We have 600-700 million of bilateral trade happening, we have funds of billions of dollars that has been announced.

“We’re looking to create over a trillion dollars of economic activity over the next decade.”

Further benefits will come if a major deal to ship Emirati oil to Europe via an Israeli pipeline clears objections from environmentalists, who fear damage to unique coral reefs in the Red Sea.

Reuters with additional input by GVS News Desk

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