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Bennett travels to the Emirates to boost ties after progress over the past two years

Israeli prime minister makes first official visit since death of Mohammed bin Zayed's half-brother
Bennet Bin Zayed

PHOTO/WAM  -   Naftali Bennett, Prime Minister of Israel with Mohamed bin Zayed

The Israeli Prime Minister, Naphtali Bennett, discussed on Thursday in Abu Dhabi, with the new President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Mohamed bin Zayed, the means to boost relations between the Jewish State and the Arab country, particularly in economy and investments, after the progress achieved in the last two years. 

Bennett arrived in Abu Dhabi today on an unofficially announced visit, the first since Mohammed bin Zayed took office after the death of his half-brother, Sheikh Khalifa, in May. 

The two leaders "discussed avenues for bilateral cooperation and opportunities for their development in various aspects, especially investment, economic and development", an official Emirati government statement said. 

They also discussed cooperation in "areas of food security, health and other vital sectors underpinning development to achieve the aspirations of the two countries for the future," the statement added, as reported by the official Emirati news agency WAM. 

After offering his condolences on the passing of Sheikh Khalifa, Bennett congratulated bin Zayed on his assumption of the UAE leadership and "expressed his country's aspiration to work together with the UAE to broaden the horizons of their cooperation during the next phase for the benefit and prosperity of their peoples and the peoples of the region," the note said. 

The Prime Minister's spokesman, Ofir Gendelman, explained on his official Twitter account that the visit was at the invitation of the new UAE President, and that Bennett was received at the airport of the Emirati capital by Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed. 

This is the third meeting between Bennett and Bin Zayed, following meetings in Abu Dhabi in December and Egypt in March, the latter with Egyptian President Abdelfatah al Sisi. 

The March meeting was the second face-to-face meeting between Bennett and Bin Zayed, then crown prince of the emirate of Abu Dhabi and de facto ruler of the country, after the Israeli prime minister's visit to the Emirates in December. 

December's visit was the first visit by an Israeli head of government to the UAE after the two nations normalised relations in August 2020 with the signing of the Abraham Accords in Washington with Bahrain, which were later joined by Sudan - yet to be ratified - and Morocco. 

Since then, ties between the two countries have been growing steadily, especially on trade issues, and on 31 May they signed a free trade agreement in Dubai, described as historic for being the first of its kind between the Jewish state and an Arab country, and which will increase bilateral trade to some 10 billion dollars in five years.