Israeli PM to make first official visit to UAE on Sunday

AP , Sunday 12 Dec 2021

Israel's prime minister announced that he would make the first official visit to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday as part of a blitz of regional diplomacy amid the backdrop of struggling nuclear talks with Iran.

Naftali Bennett
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett chairs a cabinet meeting at the prime minister s office in Jerusalem, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021.AP

Naftali Bennett's office said he will be meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and discussing strengthening economic and military ties.

The UAE visit will be the first by an Israeli prime minister. Israel and the UAE had long enjoyed clandestine security cooperation over their shared concern over Iran, but formalized ties last year as part of the U.S.-brokered ``Abraham Accords.``

Bennett's one-day trip is timed to coincide with ongoing nuclear talks between world powers and Iran. Israel is not a party to the negotiations, but is looking on with concern. In recent weeks, Israel has fanned out its top diplomat and its defense and spy chiefs to meet with allies in Europe, the U.S. and the Mideast to push for a firmer approach to Iran.

Israel says it is determined to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, while Tehran insists its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.

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