Israel says top diplomat to visit UAE in first official trip

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid attended the first cabinet meeting of the new coalition government on Sunday and will undertake the country's first official ministerial visit to the UAE. AFP/Emmanuel Dunand

ISRAEL - Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will visit the United Arab Emirates in the first official ministerial visit since the two nations agreed to normalise ties, his office said Monday.

Israel and the UAE, along with Bahrain, normalised ties in September and the Jewish state also last year agreed to normalise relations with two other Arab nations, Morocco and Sudan.

"Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will hold the first and historic official visit of an Israeli Foreign Minister to the UAE," a statement read.

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He will be hosted by Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan on his two-day visit from June 29-30, it added.

Lapid is the architect of a coalition government in Israel that came to power on June 13, ousting long-serving prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who presided over last year's normalisation accords. 

Israeli ministers have previously visited the UAE, but Lapid is the most senior Israeli to make the trip, and the first to travel on an official journey.

"Ties between Israel and the UAE are an important relationship, the fruits of which will be enjoyed not only by the citizens of the two countries, but by the entire Middle East," the statement added.

Lapid will inaugurate the Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi, as well as the Consulate General of Israel in Dubai.


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