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Bennett to make first visit by Israeli PM to UAE

Published: Updated:

Israel’s prime minister announced that he would make the first official visit by a sitting premier to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday as part of a blitz of regional diplomacy amid the backdrop of struggling nuclear talks with Iran.

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Naftali Bennett’s office said he will be meeting with UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and discussing strengthening economic and military ties.

Bahrain’s FM Abdullatif Al Zayani, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UAE FM Abdullah bin Zayed display their copies of signed agreements while US President Donald Trump looks on as they participate in the signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords, normalizing relations between Israel and some of its Middle East neighbors, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, US, on September 15, 2020. (Reuters)
Bahrain’s FM Abdullatif Al Zayani, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UAE FM Abdullah bin Zayed display their copies of signed agreements while US President Donald Trump looks on as they participate in the signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords, normalizing relations between Israel and some of its Middle East neighbors, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, US, on September 15, 2020. (Reuters)

The UAE visit will be the first by an Israeli prime minister. Israel and the UAE had long enjoyed clandestine security cooperation over their shared concern over Iran, but formalized ties last year as part of the US-brokered “Abraham Accords.”

Bennett’s one-day trip is timed to coincide with ongoing nuclear talks between world powers and Iran. Israel is not a party to the negotiations, but is looking on with concern.

In recent weeks, Israel has fanned out its top diplomat and its defense and spy chiefs to meet with allies in Europe, the US and the Mideast to push for a firmer approach to Iran.

Israel says it is determined to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, while Tehran insists its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.

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