Israeli, UAE Defense Ministers Agree to Promote 'Shared Security Interests' in First Phone Call

Noa Landau
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Defense Minister Benny Gantz
Defense Minister Benny GantzCredit: Tal Shahar,AP
Noa Landau

The defense ministers of the United Arab Emirates and of Israel discussed the agreement between the two Middle East nations to normalize ties by phone on Tuesday.

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Mohammed al-Bawardi and Benny Gantz “noted that they were looking forward to strengthening communication channels and establishing solid bilateral relations for the benefit of their countries in particular and the region as a whole,” the UAE state news agency WAM reported. 

Gantz’s office said in a statment confirming the call that the two countries "share important security interests," adding "collaboration will strengthen regional security."

The two spoke about the need to advance the normalization agreement that will establish security ties as well as other aspects of the relationship between the two countries. The ministers also discussed various venues of cooperation between their defense systems, expressing their intent to create a close, ongoing and fruitful work relationship.

Gantz told al-Bawardi that he was looking forward to a meeting between the two in Israel in the Emirates the moment it would be possible. The two agreed to keep an open line of communications between them. 

Top White House advisor Jared Kushner said over the weekend that the agreement between Israel and the UAE could increase the chances of a U.S. sale of F-35 fighter jets to the Emirates, a move that Israel fears would reduce its military advantage in the region.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week that the normalization deal with the United Arab Emirates does not include an Israeli agreement for weapons sales between the United States and the UAE.

On Monday, Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein spoke on the phone with his Emirati counterpart, Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Oweis, and the two agreed on immediate cooperation between the two countries on all health-related matters, a joint statement from both ministers said.

The ministers, according to the statement, agreed to appoint a representative to coordinate cooperation between the two states, specifically in efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.The statement said that the conversation was conducted “in good spirits and out of a genuine will to conduct close coordination between the two countries.”

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