Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made a historic trip to the United Arab Emirates, the first visit by an Israeli premier, as part of a blitz of regional diplomacy against the backdrop of struggling nuclear talks with Iran, writes ABCNEWS.
Israel has watched with concern as Iran has pushed a hard line against negotiators meeting in Vienna, at once demanding sanctions relief while accelerating its nuclear program.
In recent weeks, Israel has dispatched its top diplomat and its defense and spy chiefs to meet allies in Europe, the U.S. and the Mideast to push for a firmer approach to Iran. The Israeli outreach has been accompanied by repeated threats to take military action against Iran if diplomacy fails.
Bennett’s trip to Abu Dhabi, where he will meet with Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed, is a milestone for both Israel and its new leader. Israel and the UAE last year signed a normalization deal brokered by the Trump administration under the “Abraham Accords”, a series of diplomatic accords with Arab countries that also included Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. Israel and the UAE have long shared common anxiety over Iran’s nuclear program. The deal to establish ties between the countries only increased tensions with the Islamic Republic.
Bennett was received by an honor guard and welcomed by the UAE’s foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.