Direct flights from UAE to Israel possible by end of 2020: Israeli spokesperson

An airplane of Israel’s El Al upon its arrival at the Abu Dhabi airport in the first-ever commercial flight from Israel to the UAE, on August 31, 2020. (AFP)

Direct flights from the UAE to Israel are likely to be set up by the end of 2020, an Israeli official told Al Arabiya English on Monday.

“It wouldn’t be a surprise if by the end of 2020 there will be direct flights between Israel and the UAE,” Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Lior Haiat told Al Arabiya English.

“By the end of 2020, there is a possibility,” he added.

The remarks came shortly after the first direct flight from Israel to the UAE made history Monday, with US and Israeli officials on board including White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, and Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat.

An overhead screen displays a map showing the flight route of an El Al plane from Israel en route to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, August 31, 2020. (AP)

An overhead screen displays a map showing the flight route of an El Al plane from Israel en route to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, August 31, 2020. (AP)

The process of direct flights for civilians is likely to start “in a few weeks,” according to Haiat. This would follow an official signing ceremony of the peace agreement between the UAE and Israel, in Washington DC.

“Hopefully just after the signing, the process will begin,” Haiat said.

The UAE and Israel announced a historic bilateral agreement on August 13 and bilateral talks between the country’s leaders and ministers have taken off since.

On Monday, Israeli representatives from the fields of finance, health, tourism, investment, foreign policy, diplomacy, tourism, and culture arrived as part of the US-Israeli delegation.

The delegation members are meeting face-to-face with Emirati representatives to discuss future collaborations in the various fields.

White House Adviser Jared Kushner and US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien pose with members of the Israeli-American delegation before the departure to Abu Dhabi on August 31, 2020. (Reuters)

White House Adviser Jared Kushner and US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien pose with members of the Israeli-American delegation before the departure to Abu Dhabi on August 31, 2020. (Reuters)

Bilateral talks

On Tuesday defense ministers of the UAE and Israel discussed peace and stability in the Middle East during a phone call on Tuesday, state news agency WAM reported.

“Both ministers expressed their conviction that this accord will enhance the chances of peace and stability in the region as it represents a positive step in this direction,” WAM reported.

A day earlier, health ministers of the two countries discussed collaboration in the healthcare field, especially the coronavirus pandemic, in a phone call.

Emirati company APEX National Investment (R) and the Israeli TeraGroup, signing an agreement to develop research on the novel coronavirus, in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi. (WAM)

Emirati company APEX National Investment (R) and the Israeli TeraGroup, signing an agreement to develop research on the novel coronavirus, in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi. (WAM)

UAE National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan discussed bilateral cooperation with Yossi Cohen, head of Israel's foreign intelligence, the Mossad on August 18.

It was the first known in-person meeting of Israeli and Emirati officials since the agreement was announced.

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Last Update: Monday, 31 August 2020 KSA 21:50 - GMT 18:50
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