Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said Israel is in secret talks with several Arab states on establishing ties, ahead of the Jewish state’s first commercial flight to the UAE following a normalisation accord.
In a joint remark alongside Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, Netanyahu said, “There are many more unpublicized meetings with Arab and Muslim leaders”.
Kushner referred to the so-called Abraham Accord, the August 13 US-brokered peace agreement between Israel and the UAE to normalize ties, as a “historic breakthrough,” saying “the stage is set” for other Arab states to follow the UAE.
The August 13 announcement has paved the way to “previously unthinkable” economic, security and religious cooperation between Israel and the UAE, Kushner added.
Kushner and O’Brien will join an official Israeli delegation that will fly to Abu Dhabi, UAE on Monday.
A US-brokered agreement between the Jewish state and Dubai to normalise ties was announced on August 13, making the UAE the first Gulf country and only the third Arab nation to establish relations with Israel, after Egypt and Jordan.
The talks in Abu Dhabi will seek ways to boost cooperation in areas including aviation, tourism, trade, health, energy and security, Netanyahu’s office said.
Since the agreement between the UAE and Israel was unveiled, there have been frequent bilateral phone calls between ministers and the signing of commercial contracts.
On Saturday, the Emirates repealed a 1972 law boycotting Israel.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who also met with Kushner on Sunday, called on “other Arab and Muslim states to follow this path of friendship and to establish full and warm relations with the State of Israel –- peace between nations and peoples, peace for peace.”
The Palestinians dubbed the UAE’s agreement with Israel a “stab in the back”, as it opens the Arab world to the Jewish state while their own conflict remains unresolved.
(With inputs from agency)