Last Update 23:20
Thursday, 05 August 2021

First UAE ambassador to Israel takes up post

Israel opened its UAE embassy in January, with veteran diplomat Eitan Naeh heading the Abu Dhabi mission

AFP , Monday 1 Mar 2021
UAE - Israel
FILE PHOTO The national flags of Israel and the United Arab Emirates along a highway in Netanya, Israel REUTERS

Israel's president on Monday formally received the first-ever ambassador from the United Arab Emirates to the former, following last year's historic agreement between the countries to normalise ties.

UAE envoy Mohamed Al Khaja, who arrived in Israel earlier Monday, delivered his credentials to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at a ceremony in Jerusalem.

After greeting Khaja in Arabic, Rivlin said: "The entire Israeli people welcomes you with joy.

"This will be your most important mission -- to welcome the hands reaching out to you... treaties are signed by leaders, but real, sustained peace is made between peoples, face to face," the president said.

Khaja said he would "work tirelessly to strengthen the political ties between our two countries, in the service of our peoples and regional stability."

The UAE was the first country to agree to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel under the Abraham Accords, a pact brokered by former US president Donald Trump.

The agreement made the UAE only the third majority Arab nation to form official ties with Israel, following Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan have subsequently joined the Abraham Accords.

Earlier Monday, Khaja met Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi in Jerusalem, who wished him success in his "historic mission".

Khaja told Ashkenazi he was "very proud and honoured to be the first Emirati ambassador to the State of Israel".

Israel opened its UAE embassy in January, with veteran diplomat Eitan Naeh heading the Abu Dhabi mission.

Israel and the UAE have already signed treaties on direct flights and visa-free travel, along with accords on investment protection, science and technology.

On Tuesday, Khaja was scheduled to visit Yad Vashem, Israel's national Holocaust memorial and education centre.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online. 

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