Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid Lands in UAE

Published June 29th, 2021 - 08:33 GMT
Israeli official makes first state visit to UAE after the Abraham Accords
Israel's alternate Prime Minister Lapid lands in UAE for first state visit. (Twitter)
Highlights
Alternate prime minister Yair Lapid departed to UAE for first official visit since Abraham Accords * Bennett and Biden's meeting to take place soon

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid landed in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday morning for the first state visit by an Israeli minister and the first since Israel and the UAE entered the Abraham Accords.

Lapid is scheduled to meet several ministers during his trip, including his Emirati counterpart, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, State Minister for Economic Matters Ahmed

Al Sayegh and Culture Minister Noura Al Kaabi. He will also meet with representatives of the Jewish communities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Lapid is set to dedicate the Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Israeli Consulate in Dubai. Emirati government officials and Jewish community representatives will attend the events.

In addition, Lapid will visit Israel’s pavilion at the Expo 2020 world exposition, which will begin in October.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is expected to meet with US President Joe Biden at the White House in July or August, Bennett’s spokesman said Monday.

The White House and the Prime Minister’s Office have been in talks to set a date for Bennett’s visit, likely to be his first trip abroad since becoming prime minister two weeks ago.


Biden “looks forward to hosting Prime Minister Bennett soon,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in Monday’s briefing. “We’re working on a date.”

The planned visit, so early in Bennett’s term, points to the Biden administration’s embrace of the new government, made up of parties that span a wide variety of the Israeli political spectrum.

The trip is unlikely to take place before July 18, as Congress is in recess.

President Reuven Rivlin landed in Washington on Monday and met with Biden in the White House after press time. Rivlin also met with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Bennett views Rivlin’s trip as a sort of test of how he and his views will be accepted in Washington.

Both he and Rivlin oppose a two-state solution yet are in favor of humanitarian gestures toward the Palestinians and are right-wingers, but they support working with a diverse coalition, a source close to the prime minister said.

Bennett views the Biden administration’s persistence in bringing Rivlin to Washington in his last days in office as a good sign, being that President-elect Isaac Herzog’s views, especially on a two-state solution, are more in line with Biden’s.

Rivlin conveyed to Biden that Israel seeks to be part of the conversation as the US and Iran indirectly negotiate their return to the 2015 nuclear deal, specifically on issues of enforcement and defense if Tehran violates the agreement.

Ambassador to the US and UN Gilad Erdan on Sunday announced he was resigning his post in Washington and would leave as soon as Bennett appointed a replacement.

Erdan’s time in Washington was supposed to end in November.

“It was a true honor to represent Israel to our closest ally,” he said. “During my tenure, I worked to establish ties with the Biden administration, as well as to strengthen the bipartisan support. Those ties were proven during the Gaza operation when the US halted anti-Israel initiatives in the [UN Security Council] and approved additional funding for the Iron Dome.”

Erdan said he plans to continue to represent Israel at the UN.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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