Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed phones Israeli foreign minister as lines open

UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs spoke to Gabi Ashkenazi on Sunday

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the UAE Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, marked the opening of phone lines to Israel with a call on Sunday to Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

It came three days after the UAE and Israel held a joint call with the US to start the process of normalising relations in exchange for a halt to Israeli annexation of Palestinian land in the West Bank and Jordan Valley.

Hend Al Otaiba, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, on Sunday confirmed the call between Sheikh Abdullah and Mr Ashkenazi:

Mr Ashkenazi tweeted about the call, saying he and Sheikh Abdullah had “decided together to establish a direct communication channel ahead of the signing of the normalisation agreement between the two countries”.

He said they had also agreed to “meet soon”.

Israeli Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel tweeted: "I congratulate the United Arab Emirates on the unblocking.

"Many economic opportunities will now open up, and these trust-building steps are important for advancing the countries' interests."

The National  was able to make calls to Israel on Sunday using landlines and mobile phones.

Some Israeli websites that were blocked in the UAE also appeared to be accessible on Sunday, although there was no official announcement from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of a change of policy.

Etisalat and du, the UAE’s two telecoms companies, have yet to respond to a request for comment over the change.

EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS