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World

Netanyahu to make first official visit to UAE

  • On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be travelling to the United Arab Emirates, making it his first official to the Gulf nation after the establishment of formal diplomatic relations.
  • Netanyahu will meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
10 Mar 2021

On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be travelling to the United Arab Emirates, making it his first official to the Gulf nation after the establishment of formal diplomatic relations.

Israeli officials confirmed that Netanyahu will meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Netanyahu has been seen as eager to make the trip before the March 23 elections in order to tout his diplomatic achievements and boost his campaign.

Emirati officials told the Walla news site that there had been concerns the visit would be seen as an intervention in the Israeli elections, but in the end Abu Dhabi agreed to the trip.

Surveys show the prime minister struggling to muster the 61-seat Knesset majority that would enable him to form a coalition, though his rivals also have no clear route to power, and the timing of the trip may bolster Netanyahu’s campaign.

Netanyahu tasked Mossad chief Yossi Cohen with persuading the UAE to agree to the visit, Axios reported, and it was not clear what, if anything, was promised to the Emiratis in return for their consent. “The Emiratis sent signals that they’d rather postpone the visit until after the elections, but Netanyahu and Cohen pressed hard until the Emiratis agreed,” Axios said.

The trip by Netanyahu will be his first official visit since the establishment of official diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain last year.

The trip has been planned for several months but postponed on numerous occasions, the last time being in February. He had originally been set to make the trip in November, then December, and then in January, but the pandemic, scheduling issues, and internal political crises led him to postpone repeatedly.

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