US President Donald Trump (L) and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu / file image
US President Donald Trump (L) and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu / file image
Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP

Israel and the United Arab Emirates will sign their historic deal to normalise relations at a White House ceremony on September 15, an official said. The official hopes this will start a dialogue with many other countries that do not have relations with Israel at present.

Speaking to a media representatives, Gilad Cohen, Deputy Director-General of the Asia-Pacific Division, said, “Coming Tuesday in Washington DC, Israel and UAE will sign an agreement.” He added that after this agreement, there will be many more discussions and agreements which may also include trilateral agreements with other countries as well.

Meanwhile, this agreement is taking place at the time when the world economies are impacted by COVID-19 crisis. When quizzed if COVID-19 had any direct impact on this deal, Consul General, Consulate General of Israel, Mumbai, said, “COVID-19 has reminded us all that we are living in a global village, subject to mutual challenges that we have to face together. This is true also for the Middle East, as the virus knows no boundaries, nor does it differentiate between political rivals, or parties of a regional conflict. While I can’t say that the COVID19 had a direct impact on the peace process, one can assume that it was in the background, and joining forces to fight the virus could be another possible field of cooperation between Israel and the UAE. This is in addition to other fields like renewable energy, climate change, business, tourism, etc.”

Meanwhile, Cohen, a career diplomat with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, commenting on the journey ahead, stressed on the possibility of trilateral agreements. He stated once the UAE and Israel agreement is sealed, trilateral agreements will also evolve. In the case of any trilateral agreement with UAE, India and Israel, it would be around agriculture, technology, water among other areas, he elaborated.

Commenting on the trade agreements with Asian countries, Cohen said that some discussions are in an advanced stage.

Late Tuesday, Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu tweeted he was proud to leave for Washington next week at the invitation of President Trump. He will be participating in the historic ceremony at the White House to sign the deal with the UAE.

Commenting on the US-Israel relations, Cohen maintained, “The United States will be the biggest ally for Israel. This is a strategic partnership and friendship. We will continue to nurture that relationship.”

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