US, Israeli officials to fly in on first-ever commercial flight between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the Libyan conflict and countering Iranian regional influence with UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan during a brief visit here on Wednesday.
The visit followed a US brokered-accord this month, which saw the UAE become just the third Arab state to agree to establish full diplomatic ties with Israel.
US and Israeli officials will fly on Monday aboard an Israeli airliner direct from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi, the first-ever commercial flight between the two countries, Israel’s Kan broadcaster reported.
Pompeo, who also visited Jerusalem, Sudan and Bahrain this week, sought to build on the momentum of the agreement for regional peace, he said in a tweet after arriving in the UAE.
Pompeo and Sheikh Abdullah spoke about support for “de-escalation and a lasting ceasefire in Libya, Gulf unity and countering Iran’s malign influence in the region”, the state department said.
The United States, UAE and Israel see Iran as the main threat to the Middle East, though the UAE has said forging diplomatic ties with Israel was not directed at Tehran.
On Wednesday, Wam quoted Morgan Ortagus, spokeswoman for the US State Department, as saying there were “incredibly positive conversations going on” between the United States, Israel and UAE with regard to selling F-35 warplanes to the Gulf country.
Meanwhile, an Israeli delegation and top aides to US President Donald Trump will fly together to the UAE on Monday for talks on cementing the deal to normalise relations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
The high-level meeting would be the first between the three parties since Trump announced the US-brokered accord on August 13.
The deal still awaits negotiations on details such as opening embassies, trade and travel links before it is officially signed.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, US Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz and other US officials will travel together with an Israeli delegation led by national security adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, Netanyahu said in a video statement.
A senior US administration official confirmed the participation of Kushner, O’Brien and Berkowitz, and said US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook would also be on the flight.
Talks will focus on ways to promote Israeli-UAE cooperation in sectors such as aviation and tourism, trade, finance, health, energy and security, Netanyahu said.
“This is a historic agreement. It will bring growth engines…I hope other countries in our region will join the circle of peace.”
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