First Emirati ambassador to Israel arrives to start post


JERUSALEM — The United Arab Emirates’ first ambassador to Israel arrived Monday to start his posting in Tel Aviv, barely half a year after the countries formally established diplomatic relations.

Ambassador Mohamed Al Khaja met with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi in Jerusalem ahead of a meeting with President Reuven Rivlin to formally present his credentials.

The new relations between the countries “will remain a beacon of light and hope in human history, for all of the peace-loving people,” Al Kaja said in Arabic.

Israel and the UAE announced what have become known as the “Abraham Accords” in August to normalize ties under a U.S.-brokered deal. The name refers to the patriarch of the world’s three major monotheistic religions.

The two countries had nurtured clandestine security ties for years over a shared distrust of regional foe Iran. They signed the deal to establish full diplomatic relations on the White House lawn in September.

Since August, the U.S. has brokered deals to initiate diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. Until then, Egypt and Jordan were the only Arab states to have signed peace treaties with Israel, in 1979 and 1994, respectively.

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