DUBAI: Israel’s top diplomat Yair Lapid said on Wednesday that more cooperation deals with the UAE were on the horizon, during a landmark visit to the Gulf nation.
The UAE and Israel normalized ties in September, paving the way for a raft of deals ranging from tourism and aviation to financial services.
“We’re going sign more agreements in July ... in Israel. So it’s going to expand,” he told journalists. “The vision is (that) it moves from governments to business to people.”
Lapid was speaking as he opened an Israeli consulate in the commercial hub of Dubai, a day after opening the country’s first Gulf embassy in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi.
“What we are opening here today isn’t only a consulate. It’s a center of cooperation. A place that symbolizes our ability to think together, to develop together, to change the world together,” he said.
On Wednesday, he also visited the gigantic Expo 2020 Dubai, at which Israel will participate along with more than 190 countries.
The six-month global expo, which Dubai hopes will attract visitors and boost the economy, is set to launch in October after a one-year delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Israeli pavilion will serve as a platform to establish bilateral cooperation in business, industry, investments, culture and academia,” said Israel’s point man for the expo, Elazar Cohen, in a statement.
Lapid also met with his Emirati counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, on Tuesday, signing an agreement “for economic and commercial cooperation,” according to a UAE foreign ministry statement.
Bilateral trade has reached over $675.22 million since the signing of the so-called Abraham Accords in September last year, Israel’s top diplomat told the UAE’s WAM news agency.
“Since September 2020, a number of transactions, valued at tens of millions of dollars, have been signed between Israeli and Emirati companies in the fields of artificial intelligence, cyber, renewable energy, water security, health and more,” Lapid said.
The two countries hope to benefit from an economic dividend following the normalization agreement.