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Netanyahu officially invited to UAE after months-long delay, for climate summit, not personal meetings

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu receives invitation to the COP28 Climate Change Conference 2023 in Dubai by UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohammed Al Khaja, May 22, 2023 (Photo: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday was formally invited by UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohammed Al Khaja to visit the United Arab Emirates in November for the COP28 Climate Change Conference 2023 in Dubai.

The welcomed invitation to the Gulf state comes after months of delays in arranging an official visit for Netanyahu, who played a central role in implementing the historic U.S.-negotiated Abraham Accords peace agreements with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan in 2020. The UAE also extended a formal invitation to Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

The UAE and the Jewish state currently enjoy close diplomatic, commercial and scientific ties. However, the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict in Gaza, Judea and Samaria has also somewhat affected bilateral ties between Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi.

In January, Netanyahu was reportedly forced to cancel a scheduled trip to the UAE following international condemnation of Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

During his previous tenure, Netanyahu canceled four scheduled trips to the UAE, either due to the pandemic and/or regional political tensions.

In April 2023, Netanyahu and UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed (MBZ) spoke on the phone in a conversation that was later described as “friendly and warm.” Both leaders reportedly expressed their commitment to continued dialogue and regional peace.

In March, the UAE and Israel signed the final part of a free trade agreement that will allegedly boost the already substantial bilateral trade between the two countries.

“The historic peace accord we signed with the UAE continues to bear fruit for the benefit of the citizens of both countries,” said Netanyahu said during the official ceremony in Israel.

“I am positive that we will continue to expand Israel’s circle of peace with other regional neighbors,” the Israeli prime minister added.

In December, Herzog visited the UAE and met with MBZ. He had also flown to Dubai in January 2022 for Israel National Day at the Expo 2020 Dubai.

The United Nations Summit on Climate Change, COP28, will be held at Dubai’s Expo City from Nov. 30 through Dec. 12. Some 70,000 officials and activists from around the world are expected to attend the convention.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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