Report: Israel to open ''quasi-diplmatic'' office in Abu Dhabi
Israel is taking steps to improve its relations with the Arab world following the approval of the "disengagement plan", and is holding "advanced talks" for the opening of a quasi-diplomatic office in the United Arab Emirates to represent Israeli interests in the area, according to Israeli diplomatic sources, cited by a Tel Aviv-based daily.
For months now, Israeli officials have been holding talks with representatives of the UAE regarding the opening of an office in Abu Dhabi, diplomatic sources said, according to HaAretz.
The office would not be a full diplomatic representation, but rather a center similar to the one already existing in Qatar, "representing Israeli interests."
According to the results of the talks to date, Abu Dhabi will agree to a quiet presence of Israeli diplomats on site but would officially relate to the office as it would to a foreign company.
According to the report, Israel is also considering sending a special envoy with a message from Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom to the emirate's leadership detailing the "disengagement plan" and the idea of furthering relations.
The Tel-Aviv-based newspaper further said Israeli envoys are also expected to visit all Arab countries that would be willing to accept them, with a special message from Shalom. The message will include a report to the governments on the cabinet's decision approving the "disengagement plan".
In his message, Shalom will emphasize that the "disengagement" will make possible the furthering of the peace process and a return of the region to calm. The message will also express the wish for an improvement and an upgrading of the relations between Israel and the Arab world.
The Israeli envoys will depart in the coming two weeks but at this stage it is still unclear which Arab countries will be willing to accept them.
To date, it has been decided to dispatch envoys to Qatar, Morocco, Bahrain, Tunisia, and Oman, countries with which Israel already has ties but not full diplomatic relations.
Envoys will also be sent to Jordan and Mauritania, countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)