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New Israeli Government Jumps to Deepen Ties with Emirates, Bahrain

2021-06-25 - 8:07 p

Bahrain Mirror: The Israeli press reported that Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is planning to travel to the United Arab Emirates next week for a two-day visit. It will be his first foreign trip since taking up his post, and the first visit ever of an Israeli minister to the country, according to the Al-Monitor website.

Lapid's spokesperson said on June 21, "Israel-UAE ties are an important relationship whose fruit is enjoyed not only by the citizens of the two countries, but the entire Middle East."

The Israeli minister is set to meet with his Emirati counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It is not yet known if he will also meet with the Emirati monarch. Lapid is also expected to inaugurate the Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Israeli Consulate in Dubai.

After the trip was announced, Bennett tweeted, "Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will be the first Israeli minister to arrive for an official visit at the Emirates. This is an important historic event. Israeli-Emirates relations are an important part of Israel's foreign policy and we will work to deepen them. Good luck Yair."

Shortly after taking office, Lapid spoke on the phone with the Emirati foreign minister. The office of bin Zayed noted that the two discussed "bilateral cooperation between the two countries in addition to the Abraham Accords," adding that bin Zayed congratulated Lapid on his new position and wished him success.

On the Bahraini side, Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa issued a statement on June 14 congratulating Bennett and Lapid on the formation of a new government, expressing his wish that the newly formed government will enhance development, stability and peace in the region and the world.

Foreign Minister of the previous Israeli government, Gabi Ashkenazi, was invited by his Bahraini counterpart Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani to participate in the international 2020 Manama Dialogue conference. Ashkenazi was thus set to be the first Israeli minister to officially visit to Bahrain, where he would inaugurate Israel's embassy in Manama. Eventually, the visit did not take place, as then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided no ministers would visit either Bahrain or the Emirates before he made the trip. However, Netanyahu was forced to cancel his visit to the Emirates, as Jordan had delayed its approval for the plane to pass through its aerial space.

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