Silvan Shalom Attends International Energy Conference in Abu Dhabi

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Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom attended a meeting on Saturday of the International Renewable Energy Agency in the United Arab Emirates, with which Israel does not have diplomatic relations.

It was the first time Israel has sent a minister to a meeting of IRENA since the organization's founding in 2009.

"Shalom is representing Israel, which is taking part in the meeting like all the other member states of this international agency," according to a member of the Israeli delegation.

He declined to comment on whether Shalom hoped to hold any contacts on the sidelines with Gulf Arab officials.

Over 1,000 delegates are attending the organization's annual assembly in Abu Dhabi, including heads of state and ministers from some 150 countries and representatives from over 120 international organizations.

Haaretz revealed in May last year that Israel had allocated a budget for a diplomatic mission in one of the Gulf states, without specifying which.

The UAE hosted an Israeli delegation for the first time in 2003 for a meeting of the International Monetary Fund. But, unlike fellow Gulf states Oman and Qatar, it has never hosted an Israeli trade office. Both missions have since been closed: that in Oman in 2000, and the Qatar one in 2009.

Israel's relations with the UAE have been clouded by the January 2010 death in a Dubai hotel of Hamas military commander Mahmud al-Mabhuh, which UAE investigators attributed to the Mossad.

Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom

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