ABU DHABI: Israel´s top diplomat Yair Lapid opened the Jewish state´s first embassy in the Gulf during a trip to the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, nine months after they signed a normalisation deal.
He met with his Emirati counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan here, tweeting a picture of the two of them shaking hands shortly after the opening of the embassy. Lapid earlier also tweeted a photo of himself and UAE minister Noura al-Kaabi cutting a ribbon in the blue and white of the Israeli flag.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed the opening as “historic”. Lapid´s visit and the opening of the first Israeli embassy in a Gulf state are “significant for Israel, the UAE, and the broader region”, he said in a statement. Israeli ministers have previously visited the UAE, but newly appointed Lapid became the most senior Israeli to make the trip, and the first on an official mission. “Israel wants peace with its neighbours. With all its neighbours. We aren´t going anywhere.”