Gargash says it is in no way meant to create some sort of grouping against Tehran.
The UAE has said its decision to strike a peace treaty with Israel isn’t about countering Iran, and dismissed criticism of the pact from Turkey.
“This is not about Iran. This is about the UAE, Israel and the United States,” Dr Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying. “This is in no way meant to create some sort of grouping against Iran.”
While the Trump administration and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have sought to frame the agreement as part of their attempt to confront and further isolate Iran, Dr Gargash signalled that the UAE isn’t looking to provoke its near neighbour, he said in a Bloomberg interview.
“We have a very complicated relationship with Iran,” he said. “While we have our concerns, we also feel that resolving these issues should be through diplomacy and de-escalation.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey could withdraw its ambassador to the UAE over the country’s agreement with Israel, saying it dealt a blow to Palestinian rights. Dr Gargash dismissed the statement as “double standard” which glossed over Turkey’s own significant trade links with Israel.
“They receive over half-a-million Israeli tourists, have $2 billion worth of bilateral trade and an existing embassy there. And I ask myself whether this is a principled position or not,” Dr Gargash said.
Under the deal, Israel agreed to put aside for now its pledge to annex West Bank land the Palestinians want for a state. “We have been very concerned with the issue of annexation,” he said. “Through this imaginative proclamation, we have at least been able to give negotiations space.”
He said Israel’s relations with many countries began with tiptoe steps like small tournaments, etc. The UAE took a position two years ago that if the country had to host events like the Expo, it has to host everybody, regardless of political stance. He said it was a sovereign decision of the UAE with the calculation that such bilateral relations are good for the nation as well as in halting the Israeli annexation plan. “We thought we can marry these two things together,” he said.
He denied Jordan pushed the UAE towards a deal with Israel. “This is an Emirati decision, and this is something we kept tight to our chest along with the Americans and Israelis until the announcement was made.”
Talking about the possible scale of relationship with Israel, he said the Jewish state has some areas of expertise such as aviation, technology, tourism etc. He said dedicated teams from the two countries would meet to chalk out functional corporation, which would lead to reciprocal establishment of embassies.
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