DUBAI / JERUSALEM, June 29 (Reuters) – The Israeli foreign minister landed in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday during the first official visit of an Israeli minister to the Gulf state since the two countries established diplomatic relations last year.
During the two-day visit, Yair Lapid prepares to inaugurate the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi and its consulate in Dubai, as well as sign an economic cooperation agreement, the ministry spokesman said. Israeli Foreign Minister, Lior Haiat.
Lapid posted on Twitter a photo of himself during takeoff, calling the visit “historic.”
The United Arab Emirates, along with Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, began normalizing their relations with Israel last year under the Abraham Accords brokered by then-US President Donald Trump, which marked a strategic realignment of Middle Eastern countries against Iran.
Tuesday’s deal will be the 12th between Israel and the United Arab Emirates since then, Haiat said.
Lapid is also expected to visit the site of Expo 2020 Dubai, a world fair that opens in October where Israel has built a pavilion.
Lapid’s plane passed through Saudi airspace. Riyadh, although it has not normalized its relations with Israel, last year opened its skies to Israel-UAE flights.
The United Arab Emirates officially opened its embassy in Tel Aviv, temporarily located at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, with little fanfare this month.
The Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi is also in a temporary location.
“We expect this to be a big, a big one,” Haiat said. “At the moment, we are talking about three diplomats.”