In Historic First, Israeli PM Naftali Bennett Flies to UAE to Meet bin Zayed

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett flew to Abu Dhabi to meet with Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan — the first official visit of an Israeli leader to the United Arab Emirates — his office said in a surprise announcement Sunday morning.

“The leaders will discuss deepening ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, with an emphasis on economic and regional issues that will contribute to prosperity, welfare and strengthening stability between the countries,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

The visit comes as Israel and Gulf nations up the rhetoric against Iran’s nuclear program. Negotiations between Tehran and world powers were stonewalled, again, last week.

Israel and the UAE signed a normalization deal under the Trump-led Abraham Accords last year.

Israel also normalized relations with Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan as part of the accords.

The visit follows an invitation extended by the crown prince by the UAE’s Ambassador to Israel Muhammad Mahmoud Al Khajah in October.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid visited the UAE in June to inaugurate the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi and met with Bahraini King Hamid bin Issa al Khalifa in Manama in September.

Last week, Israeli President Isaac Herzog spoke with the crown prince for the first time to discuss strengthening security collaboration between the countries as well as a free trade agreement.

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