Israel Says It Will Join 2020 World Expo in Dubai

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls Israel's participation a representation of its 'rising status in the world and the region'

FILE PHOTO: A cone-shaped "Sun Valley" is lit up at the 2010 World Expo site in Shanghai April 25, 2010.

Israel's Foreign Ministry says Israel will participate in next year's World Expo hosted by the United Arab Emirates, in another sign of warming relations with Gulf Arab states.

The ministry said Thursday it "looks forward to sharing our innovative spirit and advances" in such fields as water, information and medical technologies at the 2020 Expo in Dubai.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Israel's participation as another expression of the state's "rising status in the world and the region."

Despite their lack of diplomatic relations, Sunni Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have quietly inched closer to Israel, seeing it as a key ally in rolling back their common adversary, Iran.

Over the past months, Israel's backdoor relations with former Arab foes have increasingly entered public view.