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Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu postpones UAE visit


Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu postpones UAE visit

Photo: Ronen Zvulun/ Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s first official trip to the UAE, initially planned for today, has been postponed.

The trip, originally scheduled for late December, has now been delayed for a third time due to COVID-19 restrictions. The initial visit would have seen Netanyahu participate in the opening of the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi, while this rescheduled trip was centered around a meeting with Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed. Emirati sources believe the postponement is “understandable and justified,” yet the cancellation comes at a sensitive time that would have marked the first meeting between the Israeli and Emirati leaders after the signing of the Abraham Accords, which normalised relations between the two nations.

Expect this meeting to be rescheduled to the nearest available date once Israel relaxes its travel restrictions. Additionally, both Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi are eager to put on a display of good faith as the Biden administration looks to reconsider recent gestures from the Trump administration such as the sale of F-35 fighter jets to the UAE. While UAE observers are still hopeful that the sale will go through, a unified display would demonstrate the strength of the deal.

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