Israel’s President Isaac Herzog to make historic visit to the UAE

Jan 25, 2022: Israeli President Isaac Herzog will pay a historic visit to the United Arab Emirates later this month, his office said, in the latest high-level diplomatic visit since normalization of relations between the two countries.

Herzog’s office said Tuesday that the president, who will be traveling with the first lady, will meet with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during a January 30-31 visit.

“We have the privilege of making history by making the first visit of an Israeli president to the United Arab Emirates,” Herzog said in the statement, adding that the countries were “laying the foundations of a new shared future”.

Herzog said his office would also meet with Dubai’s rulers and top government officials and visit the Dubai Expo.

The visit comes some 16 months after the wealthy UAE broke with decades of Arab consensus and forged diplomatic ties with Israel.

The move was part of a series of US-brokered agreements known as the Abraham Accords, which have angered Palestinians. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made history last month when he became the first Israeli head of state to visit the United Arab Emirates, a visit that partly focused on international talks on Iran’s nuclear program, a top concern for Israel.

Herzog, whose position is mostly formal, will be the first Israeli leader to pay an official visit to the United Arab Emirates.

He vowed that a “bold new partnership” between the countries would “change the Middle East” and that Israel was eager to expand the list of Arab countries that had signed the Abraham Agreement. The deals were struck under former US President Donald Trump but were endorsed by President Joe Biden’s administration.

Bahrain and Morocco have also normalized relations with Israel under the agreement. Sudan has agreed to do so, but no formal diplomatic relations have emerged amid growing instability in Khartoum.

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