The much-awaited Abraham Accord for peace was signed by the United Arab Emirates and Israel at the White House on September 15, while the Kingdom of Bahrain signed the ‘Declaration to Support Peace’ with Israel. US President Donald Trump presided over the function after having played a big role in sealing the ties.
The normalisation of ties between the UAE and Israel is a historic diplomatic breakthrough and a hopeful sign that progress in the Middle East is possible, said H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation who represented the UAE at the function on the lawns of the White House. He also said the progress on Palestinian statehood is also central.
Sheikh Abdullah and the UAE delegation met President Trump in the Oval Office before the ceremony, and the US leader thanked the UAE for being the first Gulf country to forge ties with Israel.
Bahrain was represented by Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani and Israel by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Oman sent its Ambassador to the ceremony.
With these deals, the UAE and Bahrain become the third and fourth Arab countries after Egypt and Jordan to establish ties with the Jewish state.
Meeting Netanyahu in the Oval Office, Trump said “at least five or six countries” will follow course though he did not name them. Netanyahu as well as the Gulf leaders praised President Trump’s role and said the ties gave hope to “all the people of Abraham.”
In a commentary published by Wall Street Journal, Sheikh Abdullah said the signing of the peace accord “is a disruptive reminder that Emiratis and Israelis, and all the people of the Middle East, are tired of conflict”.
The first and most urgent priority, he wrote, is to de-escalate tensions and begin a regional dialogue on peace and security. A second priority is to expand a community of peaceful coexistence while the third priority is to build a powerful engine of economic and cultural exchange that generates opportunity and understanding across the region.
“In a difficult year in a difficult region, the peace accord is a bright starting point for the Middle East’s future. The UAE and Israel are off to an energetic beginning with cooperation on the coronavirus and technology, space and energy, investment and food security. Emirati young people are learning Hebrew. UAE universities will begin accepting Israeli students. Regular flights will start next year. These and thousands of other small and large steps will carry the message of peace, shalom and salaam throughout the region,” he concluded.