Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was invited to make his first official visit to the United Arab Emirates as he met with the ambassadors of the UAE and Bahrain in Israel on Tuesday.
Bennett's meeting with the Bahraini and Emirati ambassadors, Khaled Yousif Al Jalahma and Mohammed Al Khajah, was held at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, where Al Khajah extended the invitation to Bennett on behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The meeting included discussions on expanding ties, regional cooperation, and furthering the so-called Abraham Accords, according to a statement from Bennett's office.
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"The stronger the ties between our countries, the stronger security and stability in the entire region will be," Bennett told the ambassadors.
Also on Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry said Yair Lapid had held a remote meeting with his counterparts in the United States, India and the UAE in which they agreed to form a four-country forum for economic cooperation. The ministers discussed the possibility of joint projects in transportation, technology, maritime security, finance, trade and more, according to the ministry.
Lapid traveled to Bahrain late last month, where he met with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. The foreign minister said the "warm and hopeful" meeting demonstrated "true cooperation" between the countries. He later visited a U.S. warship alongside Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, in what Israeli officials called a clear signal to Iran. Sources told Haaretz that the two countries are looking into cooperation in responding to Iranian drone attacks, which are seen as a growing threat in the region.
Bennett also met with al-Zayani and UAE Minister of State of Foreign Affairs Khalifa Shaheen Almarar in New York last month ahead of his address at the UN General Assembly. He has also held meetings with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi and Jordan's King Abdullah.
Iran, Bahrain’s neighbor on the other side of the Gulf, is considered to be the most important threat to the kingdom’s future. Bahrain's king announced in 2011, at the height of the Arab Spring, that an attempted coup apparently originating in Iran had been thwarted.
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Al-Zayani visited Israel last November, when he called for renewing negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians based on a two-state solution to their conflict.