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Israel’s FM to meet UAE counterpart in Berlin; they’ll visit Holocaust museum

Gabi Ashkenazi and Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan have spoken on the phone, but have yet to meet, since signing of normalization accords

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi talks to the media at a news conference in front of the Liebermann Villa at the Wannsee Lake in Berlin, Germany, August 27, 2020. (Michele Tantussi/Pool Photo via AP)
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi talks to the media at a news conference in front of the Liebermann Villa at the Wannsee Lake in Berlin, Germany, August 27, 2020. (Michele Tantussi/Pool Photo via AP)

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi will meet his Emirati counterpart, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in Berlin on Tuesday, according to Hebrew media reports.

While the two have spoken over the phone, this will be the first public meeting between the two senior officials.

In addition to talks, Ashkenazi and Al Nahyan will visit the Holocaust Museum together, Kan news reported on Monday.

The meeting comes on the heels of last month’s signing at the White House of normalization accords between Israel and two Arab states, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, marking only the third and fourth such agreements with Arab nations in Israel’s 72-year history. It follows Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

Since the ties were established, senior officials from both countries have spoken on the phone and Israeli and UAE ministries have signed numerous trade agreements.

US President Donald Trump watches as UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (R) speaks from the Truman Balcony at the White House during the signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, September 15, 2020. (SAUL LOEB / AFP)

Last week, the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates reiterated his country’s “firm demand” for the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 border lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Al Nahyan took credit for halting Israel’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank by agreeing to normalize relations with the Jewish state. He expressed the hope that the “historic peace accord” with Jerusalem would lead to the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

In a rare interview with an Emirati publication in mid-September, Askhenazi praised the UAE’s leadership and called on the Palestinians to learn from the Emirates’ example in normalizing relations with Israel.

“The UAE plays an important role in building a prosperous future and long-term stability throughout the Middle East, as the courageous steps of the UAE will help bring in regional development and growth, as well as help to better deal with the challenges of the future,” Askhenazi said.

Ashkenazi did not attend the signing of the normalization deal in Washington.

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