Israel’s Mossad spy chief visits UAE for security talks

Israel’s Mossad spy chief visits UAE for security talks
Israel’s Mossad spy agency chief Yossi Cohen visited the UAE for security talks on Tuesday, only days after the countries agreed to establish diplomatic ties. (AFP/File Photo)
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Updated 18 August 2020

Israel’s Mossad spy chief visits UAE for security talks

Israel’s Mossad spy chief visits UAE for security talks
  • The head of Israel's foreign intelligence service discussed "cooperation in the fields of security" with the UAE's national security advisor, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al-Nahyan

DUBAI: Israel’s Mossad spy agency chief Yossi Cohen visited the UAE for security talks on Tuesday, only days after the countries agreed to establish diplomatic ties.

The head of Israel's foreign intelligence service discussed “cooperation in the fields of security” with the UAE's national security advisor, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi, Emirates News Agency reported.

The US, Israel and UAE, along with several other Gulf states, have a common foe in Iran, which they accuse of seeking a nuclear bomb, fuelling regional instability and backing militant groups.

Cohen's trip marked the first visit to the UAE by an Israeli official after the announcement last week by US President Donald Trump that the two countries had agreed to normalise relations.

“The two sides discussed prospects for cooperation in the fields of security as well as exchanged points of view on regional developments and on issues of common interest” including efforts to contain the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the report said.

As part of the landmark deal, the Israel agreed to suspend the annexation of occupied West Bank territories, although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the plan was not off the table in the long run.

Trump said leaders from the two countries would sign the historic agreement at the White House in the coming weeks.

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READ MORE: Kushner slams Palestinians, critics of UAE-Israel peace deal

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Netanyahu last week called Cohen to thank him for the Mossad's assistance “in developing the ties with the Gulf states over the years, which assisted in bringing the peace treaty to fruition,” the prime minister's office said.

Palestinians protested the deal which they saw as a betrayal by a major player in the Arab world, which has broadly held that normal ties with Israel are only possible once its dispute with the Palestinians is resolved.

Israel-UAE tensions had run high in 2010 after Mossad was widely blamed for the assassination in a Dubai hotel room of an operative for Hamas, Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh.

The deal is only the third such accord Israel has struck with an Arab country, and raises the prospect of similar deals with other Gulf states.

The Israeli prime minister appeared Monday on Sky News Arabia in his first ever interview with the Abu Dhabi-based network.

“This is a great moment ... we are making history,” he said, adding: “This is a combination of limitless possibilities.”

Meanwhile, Oman's minister responsible for foreign affairs spoke to his Israeli counterpart on Monday, the first publicised contact since the announcement of the UAE-Israel deal.

Yusuf bin Alawi and Israel's Gabi Ashkenazi spoke via telephone about “recent developments in the region,” Oman's foreign ministry said on Twitter.

Oman, along with Bahrain, had already expressed its support for the deal, and Bin Alawi told Ashkenazi that Muscat “clearly reaffirms its position calling for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace” in the Middle East.

Other Gulf countries have so far remained silent on the Israel-UAE agreement.


Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister

Updated 03 December 2020

Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister

Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister
  • The rise had impacted on each individual’s share of education, health, and available resources, affecting overall demographics: minister

CAIRO: Egypt’s 14-fold population increase between 1882 and 2017 had created a “national problem” that required urgent attention, a government minister has said.

Deputy Minister of Health and Population Tarek Tawfik revealed that over the 135-year period the number of people living in the country had shot up from 6.7 million to 94.8 million.

The rise had impacted on each individual’s share of education, health, and available resources, affecting overall demographics, he added.

“(The population increase) is a national problem that needs to be solved through the collaboration of efforts between all the ministries, governmental, and non-governmental institutions, and the civil society,” Tawfik said.

He pointed out that the Egyptian National Population Council was currently drafting public policy documentation in collaboration with The American University in Cairo (AUC) aimed at resolving some of the country’s population-related issues.

Plans in the pipeline included awareness campaigns on family sizes, food and water security, and sustainability.

The council’s former rapporteur, Dr. Amr Hassan, said that a family planning project due to be launched early next year, would help to cut the birth rate in Egypt by 1 million.

Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, US Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Leslie Reed, AUC President Francis Joseph Ricciardone, and Tawfik recently launched the Strengthening Egypt’s Family Planning Program (SEFPP) youth competition, part of a $31 million initiative previously signed with the USAID to improve population health results.

Al-Mashat said that improving general healthcare, reproductive health, and family planning services were key to achieving economic empowerment for men and women.

She pointed out that the SEFPP youth competition was aimed at paving the way for the implementation of new and effective solutions to the issues and involved the Egyptian government, educational institutions and universities, youth, and civil society organizations represented by the USAID.

The program was designed to tackle the over-population problem through innovative techniques, developing youth ideas on family planning schemes, and raising awareness throughout the country.