‘Several’ Arab states on path to normalizing ties with Israel, says UAE foreign minister

‘Several’ Arab states on path to normalizing ties with Israel, says UAE foreign minister
Arab countries were at “different stages” in establishing relations with Israel, UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash said on Thursday. (WAM/File Photo)
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Updated 20 August 2020

‘Several’ Arab states on path to normalizing ties with Israel, says UAE foreign minister

‘Several’ Arab states on path to normalizing ties with Israel, says UAE foreign minister
  • Gargash's comments came one week after the UAE and Israel signed a historic agreement to establish full diplomatic relations

LONDON: Arab countries were at “different stages” in establishing relations with Israel, UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash said on Thursday.

Speaking during an event hosted by the US Atlantic Council think tank, Gargash said that “several Arab countries” are on the path to normalizing ties with Israel.

“The region does need a strategic breakthrough,” he said.

His comments came one week after the UAE and Israel signed a historic agreement to establish full diplomatic relations.

Gargash added that unlike Egypt and Jordan’s relations with Israel, the UAE’s relationship with Jerusalem in future will be a “warm peace.”

“This is going to be a warm peace because, unlike Jordan or Egypt, we have not fought a war with Israel,” Gargash said.

Israel signed a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979 and with Jordan in 1994.

The UAE minister said that while Palestinians were ultimately responsible for negotiations regarding their state, the suspension of a proposed annexation of Palestinian lands was one of the key tenets of the agreement for the Emiratis.

“The UAE saw an opportunity because we’ve always been urged by the Palestinians to help in stopping annexation. By linking (the agreement) to the suspension of annexation, we came out with a good deal.

“We expect our requests regarding the agreement with Israel to be fulfilled,” he added.

Gargash said that any potential UAE embassy in Israel “will be in Tel Aviv” — and not in Jerusalem.

US President Donald Trump moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018, recognizing the city as Israel’s capital.

The Emirati minister said he was “very encouraged” by support for the agreement from both sides of the US political divide, after Trump pushed for the agreement and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden gave it his backing.

Following the deal, “we expect our strategic relationship with the US will develop much further,” Gargash said.

On Tuesday, UAE National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al-Nahyan was visited by Yossi Cohen, head of Israel’s foreign intelligence network Mossad.

The two discussed cooperation in several fields, according to Emirates News Agency.


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.