Herzog to make first UAE visit by Israeli head of state

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Israel UAE (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Israel UAE (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Israel's figurehead president will make the first visit to the United Arab Emirates by the country's head of state next week, his office said Tuesday.

The high profile visit by President Isaac Herzog aims at further cementing the burgeoning ties between the two states following the normalization of relations under the so-called “Abraham Accords.”

Herzog will fly to Abu Dhabi on Sunday and will meet with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Gulf state's crown prince and de facto ruler, as well as Emirati leaders and members of the small Jewish community.

Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett paid a two-day visit to the Gulf state, the first official visit to the country by an Israeli leader since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations in 2020.

Israel and the UAE had long nurtured clandestine security cooperation before they formalized diplomatic relations as part of the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords. The agreements established diplomatic relations between Israel and four Arab states: the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.

In the year and a half since the signing of the agreement on the White House lawn, bilateral trade and cooperation have skyrocketed, and Israeli ministers have made several official visits to the region.

Herzog's office said the “important visit comes as the Israeli and Emirati nations are busy laying the foundations of a new shared future."

“I believe that our bold new partnership will transform the Middle East and inspire the whole region,” he said.

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