Israel’s new president hailed an “important milestone” towards peace as the United Arab Emirates formally opened diplomatic offices in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
Isaac Herzog, who took office last week, said the new Emirati embassy marked “our shared journey toward a future of peace, prosperity and security for the Middle East”.
He continued: “We are both nations that cherish our history and traditions while pushing the very boundaries of innovation and science. We are deeply rooted in our land while having our eyes on the stars.
“Whilst we both built on our modern states out of the desert sands, we made the impossible possible.
“And we both created vibrant, multicultural societies through an unwavering commitment to religious freedom and human dignity.”
The two countries agreed to normalise their relations a little under a year ago as part of the US-brokered agreement known as the Abraham Accords.
On Wednesday morning Mohamed Al Khaja, the Emirati ambassador to Israel, joined Herzog to open trading on the Tel Aviv stock exchange, which is situated in the same tower block as the new UAE embassy.
“This is just the beginning,” Al Khaja said, according to the Times of Israel. “Both countries are innovative nations and we will harness these new approaches for the prosperity of the countries.”
He added the new embassy was “a base for our task to continue to build on our new partnership, to seek dialog, not dispute, to build a new paradigm of peace and to provide a model for a new collaborative approach to conflict resolution in the Middle East.”
Israel’s embassy in Abu Dhabi was opened by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid last month.
He used the opening to call on recognise the Middle East is Israel’s home and “we are here to stay”.
“We call on all countries of the region to recognise that and to come to talk to us,” Lapid said.
The Abraham Accords have helped build closer relations between Israel and several other Arab-majority countries, including Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.
Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are among other countries in the region that have not yet followed their lead.
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