‘We’re not going anywhere’, Lapid says as he opens Israel’s embassy in the UAE

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‘We’re not going anywhere’, Lapid says as he opens Israel’s embassy in the UAE

New foreign minister calls on other Gulf countries to follow the United Arab Emirates and engage with Israel

Michael Daventry is foreign editor of Jewish News

Yair Lapid open Israel’s new embassy in the United Arab Emirates with a message of peace to other one-time adversaries in the region: “We’re here to stay.”

The foreign minister, who is on a two-day visit to the Gulf, called on other countries to follow the lead of the UAE and Bahrain by talking to Israel.

Israel wants peace with its neighbours, with all of its neighbours. We are not going anywhere, the Middle East is our home and we are here to stay,” he said after opening the embassy, which is temporarily stationed in an Abu Dhabi high-rise office.

“We call on all countries of the region to recognise that and to come to talk to us.”

He added: “We are standing here today because we chose peace over war, cooperation over conflict, the good of our children over the bad memories of the past, the right to determine our fate by ourselves.

“Agreements are signed by leaders but peace is made by people. What we are doing here today is not the end of the road, it’s the beginning.”

Lapid was also due to open a consulate in Dubai and sign a bilateral agreement on economic cooperation.

The trip is Lapid’s first since he formed a broad unity government with the right-wing Naftali Bennett, now prime minister.

Bahrain and the UAE were among the countries joining the Abraham Accords, which saw the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel.

Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are among other countries in the region that have not yet followed their lead.

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