Sheikh Abdullah welcomes Israeli talks with Palestinians

UAE foreign minister was speaking at a meeting in Washington with his US and Israeli counterparts

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, says the UAE welcomes recent Israeli engagement with the Palestinian Authority.

He was speaking at a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid at the US State Department ­on Wednesday.

“The Palestinians are going to be the most important element of the success of peace in the region,” Sheikh Abdullah said.

“I’m quite excited to see that in the last few weeks, Israeli ministers are starting to meet with the PA. This is a good start.”

Sheikh Abdullah said he would soon visit Israel to look for new ways to broaden co-operation between the countries more than a year after the signing of the Abraham Accords.

Mr Lapid “was kind enough to invite me to visit Israel and I’m going to visit soon to meet a friend – but also a partner”, Sheikh Abdullah said in response to a question from The National.

“We need to not only celebrate this relationship, but look at new venues of co-­operation.”

He suggested climate change projects that use ­Israeli and Emirati technology could be one such area.

The three diplomats discussed several issues, including Iran, with Mr Blinken saying time is running out for Tehran to return to compliance in the 2015 nuclear deal.

“The runway that we have left to do that [return to the deal] is getting shorter and shorter,” Mr Blinken said.

When asked if a military option was under consideration, Mr Blinken said diplomacy was the preferred course.

“We are prepared to turn to other options if Iran doesn’t change course,” he said.

His comments were echoed by Mr Lapid.

“Other options are going to be on the table if diplomacy fails. And by saying other options, I think everybody understands here in Israel, in the Emirates and Tehran what it is that we mean,” he said.

US President Joe Biden’s special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, will travel to the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to discuss stalled negotiations aimed at reviving the nuclear deal.

Updated: October 14th 2021, 9:37 AM