Israel supports UAE security needs, president says on first visit

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Israel’s president said his country supports the United Arab Emirates security needs and seeks stronger regional ties during the first such visit to the Gulf state on Sunday, as world powers try to revive an Iran nuclear deal.

The UAE, along with Bahrain, signed US-brokered normalization agreements with Israel, dubbed the "Abraham Accords", in 2020. The two Gulf states and Israel share concerns about Iran and its allied forces in the region.

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Isaac Herzog discussed security and bilateral relations with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The UAE has in the past fortnight been attacked twice with drones and missiles by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia.

“We completely support your security requirements and we condemn in all forms and language any attack on your sovereignty by terrorist groups. We are here together to find ways and means to bring full security to people who seek peace in our region,” Herzog said during the meeting, in comments released by his office.

Sheikh Mohammed said Israel and the UAE share a “common view of the threats to regional stability and peace, particularly those posed by militias and terrorist forces.”

En route to the UAE President Herzog’s plane flew over Saudi Arabia, which he said was “truly a very moving moment.” Riyadh and Israel do not have diplomatic ties, but Israel has said it would like to establish a relationship with the Kingdom which is home to Islam's two holiest sites.

“The Abraham Accords should be continued and more nations should join us in this endeavor,” Herzog told Sheikh Mohammed.

The presidency in Israel is a largely ceremonial post. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visited the UAE in December.

President Herzog met the UAE’s foreign minister and other officials, UAE state news agency WAM said. He will also meet Jewish communities in the UAE, which is the region’s commercial and tourism hub.

Israel on January 18 offered security and intelligence support to the UAE against further drone attacks, according to a letter released on Tuesday by Israel’s leader.

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