Israel’s FM arrives in UAE for first ever visit
Dubai, Jun 29 (EFE).- Israel’s new Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Tuesday arrived in the United Arab Emirates on a two-day trip, becoming the first Israeli minister to visit the Gulf state since signing a historic deal to normalize ties last year.
Lapid was received by Minister of State Ahmed al-Sayegh at the airport in the capital Abu Dhabi.
“Israel wants peace with its neighbors. With all its neighbors. We aren’t going anywhere. The Middle East is our home. We’re here to stay,” Lapid said in a speech during the inauguration of the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi.
“We call on all the countries of the region to recognize that. And to come talk to us,” he added.
During the ceremony attended by Emirati Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development Noura al-Kaabi, Lapid and UAE rabbi Levi Duchman laid a mezuzah (doorpost) at the embassy.
The top diplomat will meet with his Emirati counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as well as inaugurate a general consulate in Dubai.
He is also scheduled to visit the Israeli pavilion at Expo 2020, which will take place later this year.
In the past nine months, both countries have signed numerous cooperation agreements in various sectors, costing $354 million, and more than 200,000 Israeli tourists have traveled to the UAE.
Israel signed agreements establishing full diplomatic relations with the UAE and Bahrain in mid-September following mediation by the United States, becoming the first Gulf states to do so.