WASHINGTON: The UAE and Israel yesterday reached a historic agreement that may lead to a full normalisation of diplomatic relations.
Under the accord, Israel has agreed to suspend annexing areas of the occupied West Bank as it had been planning to do, White House officials said.
It also firms up opposition to regional power Iran, which the UAE, Israel and the US view as the main threat in the region.
The agreement was the product of lengthy discussions between Israel, the UAE and the US that accelerated recently, White House officials said.
A joint statement issued by the three nations said Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan had “agreed to the full normalisation of relations.
“This historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East region and is a testament to the bold diplomacy and vision of the three leaders and the courage of the UAE and Israel to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential in the region,” the statement said.
In a separate statement, Crown Prince Mohammed stressed that the agreement would stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories.
The UAE said it would remain a strong supporter of the Palestinian people and that the normalisation agreement maintained the viability of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said the deal had helped defuse what he called a ticking time bomb. He urged the Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table.
Trump’s special envoy Brian Hook said the deal is a “nightmare” for Iran.
Delegations from Israel and the UAE will meet in coming weeks to sign agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications and other issues, the statement said.
Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas later rejected the deal.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed “any initiative that can promote peace and security in the Middle East region,” a UN spokesman said.