Israeli President Herzog departs to UAE for first visit – spokesman

Israeli President Herzog departs to UAE for first visit – spokesman

January 30, 2022

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli President Isaac Herzog left for the United Arab Emirates on Sunday on the first such visit, his office said, seeking to strengthen Gulf ties at a time of heightened regional tension as world powers try to revive a nuclear deal with Iran.

“I will be meeting the leadership of the United Arab Emirates, at the personal invitation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince,” Herzog said.

“I wish him well and I am grateful for his courage and bold leadership, carving out a peace agreement with Israel and sending a message to the entire region that peace is the only alternative for the peoples of the region.”

The presidency in Israel is a largely ceremonial post. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visited the UAE in December.

The UAE, along with Bahrain, signed U.S.-brokered normalisation agreements with Israel, dubbed the “Abraham Accords”, at the White House in 2020. The two Gulf nations and Israel share common concerns about Iran and its allied forces in the region.

Israel on Jan. 18 offered security and intelligence support to the UAE against further drone attacks after a deadly strike by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group, according to a letter released on Tuesday by Israel’s leader.

(Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by William Mallard)

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