Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to Make First State Visit to UAE

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Yair Lapid arrives for the first weekly cabinet meeting of the new government in Jerusalem on Sunday
Yair Lapid arrives for the first weekly cabinet meeting of the new government in Jerusalem on SundayCredit: Emmanuel Dunand / AP

Israel’s new foreign minister will head to the United Arab Emirates next week for the first-ever visit by a top Israeli diplomat to the Gulf country.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said Monday that Lapid will visit the UAE June 29-30, and will inaugurate an Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi and a consulate in Dubai.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s visit comes after the two countries normalized relations last year in an agreement brokered by the Trump administration.

The new governments in both Israel and the United States have said they hope to reach similar accords with other Arab states.

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu planned four visits to the UAE, none of which materialized. His latest attempt in March, just prior to Israel's fourth elections in two years, was nixed after Jordan did not approve his flight path in time for the visit. 

Yair Lapid is working to restore the foreign ministry's stature and influence after years of underfunding during Netanyahu's tenure. “Over the last few years, Israel has disgracefully neglected its foreign service and the international arena,” Lapid told the Foreign Ministry staff early this week, “and then it suddenly wakes up one morning and is surprised that there’s been considerable erosion in its international standing.”

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