Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 3 December 2020

UAE and Israel foreign ministers in historic first meeting

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed and Gabi Ashkenazi met at Berlin's Holocaust Memorial before travelling to Villa Borsig for talks

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed and his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi greet as they visit the Holocaust memorial together with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas prior to their historic meeting on October 6, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. Getty Images 
UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed and his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi greet as they visit the Holocaust memorial together with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas prior to their historic meeting on October 6, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. Getty Images 

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, met his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi on Tuesday as the two countries begin to forge relations.

In a windy press conference conducted outside Villa Borsig near Berlin, the ministers expressed hope for the future of the region and the role the Abraham Accord could play in securing it.

Sheikh Abdullah said he hoped the improved relations since the Abraham Accord was signed on September 15 would provide “new impetus toward stability and peace” in the Middle East.

In a positive exchange, Sheikh Abdullah and Mr Ashkenazi referred to each other as “my friend” and pledged to continue to work together. The pair discussed co-operation on energy and scientific research, Sheikh Abdullah told reporters.

“The Middle East has entered a new era towards security and prosperity after the signing of the peace treaty with Israel,”Sheikh Abdullah said. “We have participated with Germany and Israel in promoting the values of tolerance in our countries."

The ministers met earlier on Tuesday at Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial in the centre of the city, in what Mr Ashkenazi described as a “historical moment.”

Both men, accompanied by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, walked together through the maze-like monument made up of undulating concrete slabs, then signed the guest book, with Sheikh Abdullah writing he was “proud” to visit the monument.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said it was a “great honour that the Israeli and Emirati foreign ministers have chosen Berlin as the location for their historic first meeting” since the two countries agreed to normalize relations in a U.S.-brokered deal.

Another important Israel-UAE meeting took place on Tuesday as Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, held a remote meeting with Hili Tropper, Israeli Minister of Culture and Sport, via video conferencing.

During the meeting, both sides discussed ways of reinforcing the dialogue between their creative communities, through launching initiatives that promote peace and tolerance as mutual human values.

"Culture is the bridge that establishes trust between peoples and communities and creates a brighter future for generations to come," Ms Al Kaabi said.

Updated: October 7, 2020 11:23 AM

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