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Israeli police chief holds first visit to UAE to advance security cooperation

An Israeli police official will be appointed to a permanent position in the Gulf state

Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai is welcomed in the UAE, February 6, 2022. (Police Spokesperson's Unit)
Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai is welcomed in the UAE, February 6, 2022. (Police Spokesperson's Unit)

Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai held his first official visit to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, a police statement said, in a trip aimed to promote security cooperation initiatives between the countries.

The visit will include professional meetings between the Israeli police chief and senior officials in the Emirati Interior Ministry, as well as with the police chiefs of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The visit, coordinated by the Israel Police Foreign Affairs Unit, will aim to establish close professional relations with the Emirati police force, opening official lines of communication and institutionalizing the cooperation between the senior echelons in the Israeli and Emirati police forces.

As part of strengthening the relations and security cooperation between the countries, an Israeli police official will be appointed to a permanent position in the UAE and will serve at the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi, the police statement read.

The appointed official will be responsible for coordinating all police activity in the UAE, Africa, and the Middle East.

In another example of the close security cooperation between Israel and the UAE, Israel is reportedly planning to advance the sale of missile defense systems to the United Arab Emirates, after missiles believed to have been operated by Iran-backed Houthis were launched during President Isaac Herzog’s landmark visit to Abu Dhabi last month.

Iron Dome in action, on May 13, 2021. (Avichai Socher/IDF)

Abu Dhabi is currently operating a South Korean missile defense system.

However, disagreements between the Shin Bet and authorities in the United Arab Emirates over security arrangements in the central Gulf city’s airport may soon lead Israeli airlines to halting flights to Dubai.

A Foreign Ministry source said that the disagreements were merely “technical” and would be hammered out in the coming days.

Israeli officials quoted by Walla, Haaretz, and others said that the Prime Minister’s Office, The Foreign Ministry, Transportation Ministry and the Shin Bet are currently in talks with the Emirati government to resolve the issue.

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