A ‘new dawn’ as UAE and Bahrain sign Abraham Accord with Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Donald Trump, Bahrain foreign minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, and UAE foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed wave from the Truman Balcony at the White House after they signed the Abraham Accord. (AFP)
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Updated 16 September 2020

A ‘new dawn’ as UAE and Bahrain sign Abraham Accord with Israel

  • Trump oversees historic signing ceremony on White House's South Lawn
  • Emirati and Bahraini foreign ministers join Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

WASHINGTON: The UAE and Bahrain signed historic agreements with Israel today in a ceremony overseen by Donald Trump in Washington.

The Abraham Accord means the two Gulf countries joined Egypt and Jordan as the only Arab nations to have full relations with Israel.

The ceremony was attended by the UAE’s foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, the foreign minister of Bahrain and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu.

The signing took place on the South Lawn of the White House - the same place where Israeli and Palestinian leaders signed the Oslo Accords in 1993.

“I stand here today to extend a hand of peace and receive a hand of peace,” Sheikh Abdullah said.

Addressing Netanyahu, he said: “Thank you for choosing peace and halting the annexation of Palestinian territories.”

Al-Zayani described the accord as a historic step on the road to a “genuine and lasting peace.”

He said he hoped the agreement would lead to a “comprehensive and enduring two-state solution for the Palestinian people.”

During the signing ceremony, the parties inked the Abraham Accord document while the UAE and Israel signed a treaty of “peace, diplomatic relations and full normalization.”

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Bahrain, which only announced on Friday that an agreement had been reached, also signed a “declaration of peace” with Israel.

The UAE announced last month it had reached a deal with Israel to normalize relations in return for a promise not to annex large areas of the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

The two countries have already held talks across a range of areas of cooperation and an Israeli and American delegation visited Abu Dhabi for on Aug. 31. The group, which included Trump advisor Jared Kushner, arrived on the first commercial flight from Israel to the UAE.

Donald Trump opened Tuesday’s ceremony praising the leaders of Israel, the UAE and Bahrain for reaching agreements that he said would “serve as the foundation for a comprehensive peace across the entire region.”

“After decades of division and conflict we mark the dawn of a new Middle East,” Trump said. “We're here this afternoon to change the course of history.”

Earlier he said five or six more countries were ready to also open up relations with Israel.

Netanyahu called the day a “pivot of history that heralds a new dawn of peace.”

“Ultimately it can end the Arab-Israeli conflict once and for all,” he said.

The event was attended by 700 people including former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and former British premier Tony Blair.

Earlier, the UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, said the deal had “broken the psychological barrier” and was “the way forward” for the region.

Following the ceremony, Bahrain’s minister of transportation and telecommunications and Israel’s minister of transportation discussed cooperation, Bahrain’s state news agency (BNA) reported.


No Middle East peace without solving ‘Palestinian problem,’ says Russia

Updated 18 September 2020

No Middle East peace without solving ‘Palestinian problem,’ says Russia

  • Kremlin observes ‘progress’ in the normalization of ties in the region

MOSCOW: Russia said it would be a “mistake” to think of peace in the Middle East without resolving the Palestinian issue.

The Foreign Ministry statement came on Thursday after Israel normalized relations with long-time foes Bahrain and the UAE at the White House on Tuesday.

Russia said it noted “progress” in the normalization of ties between Israel and several Arab countries but said that “the Palestinian problem remains acute.” 

“It would be a mistake to think that without finding a solution to it that it will be possible to secure lasting stabilization in the Middle East.” 

Moscow urged regional and global players to “ramp up coordinated efforts” to solve the issue. 

“Russia is ready for such joint work,” including in the framework of the diplomatic Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators and in close coordination with the Arab League, the Foreign Ministry said. 

US President Donald Trump has said similar US-brokered deals are close between the Jewish state and several other nations. 

Bahrain and the UAE are the first Arab nations to establish relations with Israel since Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. 

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday that only an Israeli withdrawal from its occupied territories could bring peace to the Middle East.