First UAE delegation in Israel agrees multibillion-dollar fund, visa-free travel

First UAE delegation in Israel agrees multibillion-dollar fund, visa-free travel
An Etihad Airways plane carrying a delegation from the UAE on a first official visit, lands at at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv. (AFP)
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Updated 21 October 2020

First UAE delegation in Israel agrees multibillion-dollar fund, visa-free travel

First UAE delegation in Israel agrees multibillion-dollar fund, visa-free travel
  • The officials were greeted by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
  • Four agreements signed in 5-hour meeting to cement normalization

DUBAI: Senior UAE officials signed a raft of unprecedented cooperation agreements with Israel on Tuesday after an inaugural delegation landed in Tel Aviv.
Plans were also announced for a $3 billion investment fund to be managed along with the US, to boost private sector projects in the region.
“Today, we are making history in a way that will stand for generations,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the opening of the one-day meeting.
“I think that the visit of such a high-level delegation from the UAE ... will show our peoples, the region and the entire world the benefit of having friendly, peaceful and normal exchanges.”
The UAE delegation was led by Economy Minister Abdullah bin Touq Al-Mari, and Minister of State for Financial Affairs Obaid Humaid Al-Tayer.
They were accompanied by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other American officials on the Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi to Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv.

Mnuchin described the visit as a historic occasion. “With greater economic prosperity comes stronger security,” he said. The UAE, the US and Israel “share a similar outlook regarding threats and opportunities in the region,” Mnuchin said.
Officials signed an agreement allowing their citizens visa-free travel between the two countries, a first in the Arab world. Israel has peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, but visas are required for travel.
Israel and the UAE also signed accords on investment protection and science and technology, and a civil aviation deal authorizing 28 flights a week between the two countries.
Al-Tayer said the deals signed on Tuesday offered “great opportunities to achieve prosperity for both our economies, and our people.”
A US delegate at the meeting, Adam Boehler, head of the International Development Finance Corporation, said the three countries would set up a fund, initially projected to raise $3 billion, to encourage private-sector investment and regional cooperation.
Last month, the UAE and Bahrain became the first Arab states in a quarter of a century to normalize relations and establish formal ties with Israel. The “Abraham Accords” were brokered by US President Donald Trump ahead of the next month’s presidential election, and signed during a ceremony at the White House.


Denmark halts UAE flights for five days over COVID-19

Denmark halts UAE flights for five days over COVID-19
Updated 23 January 2021

Denmark halts UAE flights for five days over COVID-19

Denmark halts UAE flights for five days over COVID-19
  • The statement said the UAE was communicating with Danish authorities “to clarify the details and cases”

COPENHAGEN: The UAE said on Friday it was in talks with Denmark after the Nordic country temporarily halted all flights arriving from the Gulf Arab state, a major travel hub, due to potentially unreliable coronavirus tests in Dubai.

Denmark’s transport ministry said the five-day travel restrictions, comes after concerns were raised about the coronavirus tests administered in Dubai before departure. It added it had taken the decision after a detailed tip-off, without elaborating.
“All accredited UAE testing centers are regularly subject to strict quality checks,” the UAE foreign ministry said, adding there are severe penalties for non-compliance with international standards to ensure the highest level of quality in testing.
The statement said the UAE was communicating with Danish authorities “to clarify the details and cases” behind the decision in order to guarantee the safety of all travelers.
Denmark earlier this month made it mandatory for travelers to show a negative test from the previous 24 hours before departure toward Denmark from all countries.
Late on Friday, Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said on Twitter 50 persons with COVID-19 had flown in from Dubai in January alone. 33 of those arrived after Denmark made it mandatory to test negative for COVID-19 before departure.
Several Danish celebrities, including former footballer Nicklas Bendtner, were criticized earlier this month after Danish media reported they had traveled to regional tourism hub Dubai on holiday despite the government advising against going abroad to limit the spread of the coronavirus.