Brussels (Brussels Morning) Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett arrived in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, where he met Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in what amounted to an historic first visit by an Israeli head of government to the United Arab Emirates.
Bennet met with Al-Nahyan on Monday at his private palace in the UAE capital, saying his visit reflects “a new reality” for the region. Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi only formally established diplomatic relations last year, under a series of US-brokered deals known as the Abraham Accords.
“In my opinion, this is the new reality this region is witnessing, and we are working together to ensure a better future for our children”, Bennett told the Emirates’ national news agency WAM.
His visit comes after a series of mutual moves that marked a thawing of relations between Israel and the Emirates. Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid made the first official visit in June this year, opening an embassy in Abu Dhabi and a consulate in Dubai. Lapid also signed a cooperation agreement with his Emirati counterpart during that visit, and has announced further such agreements will be made. The Emirates opened their embassy in Tel Aviv a month later.
While in the UAE on Monday, PM Bennett reflected on the strengthening trade links between the two countries, noting how the volume of mutual trade had grown significantly in the past few months, and citing the limitless future opportunities that exist to help develop those ties further.
“Israel, like the UAE, is a regional hub for trade”,Bennett said. “Our cooperation provides unprecedented economic opportunities not only for us, but for more countries.”
According to official Israeli sources, Bennett was also scheduled to meet with UAE’s technology and transport ministers during his stay, further cementing the economic nature of his visit.