Home Middle East Foreign Minister Lapid’s First Visit to UAE

Foreign Minister Lapid’s First Visit to UAE

On 29th June 2021, Israel’s Foreign Minister arrived in United Arab Emirates (UAE), since the two countries formally established the relations nine months ago. It is the highest level visit by an Israeli official to Gulf Arab state. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met the UAE’s Foreign Minister in Abu Dhabi and inaugurated Israel’s first embassy in Gulf. 

The visit is not only important and significant because it’s the first highest Israeli Minister to visit after the two countries signed the agreement to normalise the ties but also because the visit comes since the last Israel-Gaza conflict in may, in which according to the UN around 256 people were killed in Gaza and 13 in Israel.  

The ‘Abraham Accord’ under the Trump administration has led to the establishment of successful ties between UAE and Israel. Lapid acknowledged the efforts of Netanyahu and regarded him ‘the architect of the Abraham Accords’. Both countries had different aspirations from the agreement while for Abu Dhabi it was the security, for Israel it was the economic cooperation with the UAE. Soon after the agreement, US administration under the President Donald Trump authorised the sale of 50 advanced F-35 fighter jets to the UAE. This will not only high their military capabilities but also put them into safe zone in the region. Through this agreement, UAE wants to become an important geopolitical player on the global stage.   

In the last few months, the bilateral relationship between the two countries has expanded rapidly including signed investment deals in gas, technology among other sectors. In April, Mubadal investment of Abu Dhabi, signed a MoU to buy a stake in an Israeli natural gas field for about $1.1 billion. If the process becomes a success, this will be biggest between the two countries. Investment from the UAE to Israel touched $80M between September 2020 and March 2021. During the same time, the capital inflow from Israel to UAE accounted to less than $25 M.

The UAE’s move to formalize ties with Israel marked the first time in over two decades that an Arab state had normalized relations with Israel. It paved the path for a similar announcement by Bahrain, and later by Sudan and Morocco in rapid succession. This visit will not only open doors for Israel but also might help bring peace and stability to the region.