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Lapid to be first Israeli foreign min to visit UAE

Tel Aviv
Israel’s new Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is to become the first to visit the United Arab Emirates, with a trip planned for next week.
The head of the Yesh Atid party is to travel to the Gulf state for a two-day visit next Tuesday as a guest of his counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed, Lapid’s office announced on Monday.
He is also due to inaugurate the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi and a general consulate in Dubai.
“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,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.
In September last year, Israel signed agreements with the UAE and Bahrain to take up diplomatic relations.
They became the first Gulf countries to establish official ties with Israel, breaking with the decades-old line of most Arab states to refuse relations with Israel until the conflict with the Palestinians has been solved. In exchange, Israel agreed to halt the annexation of areas in the West Bank. Both sides hope that the agreements will bring economic benefits, but are also an alliance against their common enemy Iran.