In Abu Dhabi, Foreign Minister Katz talks Iran, economic cooperation

Foreign Minister Israel Katz visited Abu Dhabi this week to take part in a UN climate conference, his office says.

At the Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting, which ends today, Katz met with an unnamed “senior UAE official” to discuss “regional issues and relations between the countries,” which do not have formal diplomatic ties.

The meeting focused on “the need to deal with the Iranian threat related to the nuclear issue, missile development, Iran’s support for terrorism in the region, and the violence employed by Iran against the interests of the region,” Katz’s office says.

The two officials also discussed cooperation and bolstering economic ties, especially in the fields of high-tech, energy, agriculture and water.

Such visits, which are not bilateral but involve an Israeli official attending an international conference in the Gulf emirate, are nevertheless rare for Israeli leaders. In 2018, Likud ministers Ayoub Kara and Miri Regev visited Abu Dhabi, both times as participants in international conferences.

Katz also met in Abu Dhabi with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, where he raised Israel’s concern for the civilians and bodies of fallen soldiers held by Hamas in Gaza.

Katz says he also presented his “Tracks for Regional Peace” initiative, a proposal to link Israel’s rail network through Jordan to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, opening the countries to travel and trade with each other, and giving the Arab states access to Israel’s Mediterranean ports.

In a statement, Katz promises to continue to advance Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “normalization through strength policy that we’re leading, whether in the fields of defense and intelligence or in civilian affairs.”

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