UAE ambassador presents credentials to Israeli president in historic first

Presenting 'letters of credence' marks the start of Mohamed Al Khaja's role as ambassador

The UAE’s ambassador to Israel arrived in Tel Aviv on Monday and presented his credentials to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

Mohamed Al Khaja's three-day visit, which includes presenting "letters of credence" to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, is historic.

Mr Al Khaja arrived at the President's house to the Israeli Defence Force orchestra playing the UAE anthem.

Wearing a suit and black face mask and sporting a UAE pin badge, Mr Khaja made a short speech at the ceremony to welcome him to his diplomatic posting.

"The Abrahamic Treaty will remain a shining beacon in human history for all peace-loving people, as one that has created a new reality," he said.

"Today, the two countries have a common goal, which is to bring peace and security to the region and to spread a spirit of optimism and hope among our people."

The ambassador tweeted after his meeting writing he looked forward to further co-operation between the two nations.

The ambassador met Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi earlier on Monday. In a tweet he said the pair had "discussed bilateral relations between our two countries and the great growth that they have witnessed since the signing of the Abrahamic Peace Agreement."

Looking forward, he said he and Mr Ashkenazi talked about "ways to enhance co-operation in various fields".

Mr Al Khaja co-wrote an op-ed for The National on Monday with Israel's ambassador to the UAE, Eitan Na’eh, who met Mr Al Khaja last week.

"Six months ago, an Emirati and Israeli diplomat were unlikely to be seen together, much less co-author a newspaper article," they said.

"Opening up direct relations and embassies seemed even more far-fetched. But here we are now, an Emirati ambassador in Israel and an Israeli head of mission in the UAE in public, together, writing in one voice."

Relations between the UAE and Israel have blossomed since the countries signed the Abraham Accord last September, normalising ties.

Israel and the UAE lead the world in vaccinations against Covid-19 as their governments move swiftly to inoculate their populations.

In line with Israel’s safety protocols, Mr Al Khaja was to take a Covid-19 test when he arrived in Israel.

Updated: March 3, 2021 04:51 PM

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