Abraham Accords ‘ignited’ interest among everyday citizens

Ambassadors mark anniversary of signing of UAE-Israel normalisation deal at Jewish museum in New York

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, from left, U.S. President Donald Trump, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Bahrain's foreign affairs minister, and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, United Arab Emirates' foreign affairs minister, stand during an Abraham Accords signing ceremony event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed landmark agreements on Tuesday to move toward establishing normal relations with Israel, setting in motion a potentially historic shift in Mideast politics at a White House ceremony hosted by President Donald Trump. Photographer: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg
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Diplomats from the UAE, Israel, the US and other nations marked the anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords on Monday, saying the normalisation deal boosted prospects for peace in the Middle East.

Speaking at an event in New York, Lana Nusseibeh, the UAE’s ambassador to the UN, said last year’s deals to normalise ties between Israel, the UAE and other Arab countries had already created bonds between ordinary Israelis and Emiratis.

“What we have been inspired to witness is how the creativity and the curiosity of our people truly ignited,” Ms Nusseibeh said at an event in a Jewish museum in lower Manhattan.

“Once these political impediments were removed, Emiratis and Israelis have not lost any time in finding each other online, exploring and embracing our respective cultures.”

The agreements were signed between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain in Washington on September 15 last year, opening the door for diplomatic, trade, travel and business ties between those countries. Morocco and Sudan have also since normalised ties with Israel.

The agreements were hailed by leaders, including then-US president Donald Trump, as a step towards forging peace in the Middle East.

At the New York event, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Washington’s UN envoy, said the accords have since progressed from “ink on a page to concrete improvements between countries”.

“Peace begets peace and friendships begets relationships,” said Ms Thomas-Greenfield.

“We want to build on this model and replicate this success.”

The event also featured comments from Israel’s US and UN ambassador, Gilad Erdan, and the UN ambassadors for Bahrain and Morocco, Jamal Al Rowaiei and Omar Hilale.

Updated: September 14, 2021, 1:24 PM