US will ‘continue to support’ Israel, UAE in future peace talks: WH official

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The United States will continue to support Israeli and Emirati officials in the next steps of the Israel-UAE peace agreement, a White House official said.

“We will continue to support the parties as they move forward,” White House National Security Council’s Senior Communications Advisor for International Negotiations Eddie Vasquez told Al Arabiya English on Thursday.

Over the past six weeks, the US has been involved in extensive discussions with Israel and the UAE, according to White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner.

The talks culminated in Israel’s first peace deal with an Arab country since its 1994 treaty with Jordan.

The agreement was announced on Thursday following a phone call between US President Donald Trump, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

During the call Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince and Netanyahu “expressed their appreciation and had a real desire to figure out how we can just get going, and move to the next phases,” Kushner said on Thursday in remarks to the press.

“I just give a lot of credit to the leaders of both countries who felt like the time was right, and it’s the right way to move forward,” Kushner added.

He said the agreement, known as the “Abraham Accord,” brought together two of the US’ “closest partners in the region.”

In the coming weeks Emirati and Israeli delegations will meet to establish bilateral agreements on a range of issues including tourism, telecommunications, and healthcare.

Currently there are no direct flights from the UAE to Israel. Phone calls between the two countries are blocked and neither have diplomatic offices in each other’s country.

However collaboration relating to healthcare is already underway, relating to the coronavirus pandemic.

In June it was announced two UAE private companies paired with Israeli companies to collaborate on COVID-19 research and technology.

In order for the normalization of relations between the countries, the UAE stipulated that Israel must halt annexation of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.

In June, Netanyahu vowed to start annexing Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory starting July 1, but it never happened.

UAE officials “have been very concerned with the issue of annexation,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told Bloomberg on Saturday.

“Through this imaginative proclamation, we have at least been able to give negotiations space,” he added.

In June, Gargash told the leading US Jewish organization, the American Jewish Committee, that the UAE was “clearly against any annexation as being proposed by the current Israeli government.”

In the remarks, Gargash did mention the possibility of collaboration between the UAE and Israel on issues relating to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think we can come to a point…[where] we say we disagree with you on this…but at the same time there are areas such as COVID, technology, and other things that we can actually work together on,” said Gargash.

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