Bennett makes a ‘surprise’ visit to UAE to meet the ruler amid continuing standoff with Iran
Keeping his “surprise” visit completely under wraps until his touch down in Abu Dhabi, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett arrived in the UAE capital on Thursday morning to meet President of United Arab Emirates Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The snap trip comes as global efforts to revive the nuclear deal with Iran seem stalled, further deepening standoff between Israel and Iran.
Bennett’s office said that he will meet the UAE’s president, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, with both discussing “various regional issues.” Iran is going to be in top agenda most probably. This is Bennett’s second public trip to Abu Dhabi since Israel and the UAE signed Abraham Accords, agreeing to normalize relations in 2020.
In a video statement before he left for Abu Dhabi, Bennett said about countries at an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting in Vienna on Wednesday that voted criticising Iran over its “lack of transparency about nuclear activities at three undeclared sites in the country”.
“We see here a firm stance by the countries of the world regarding the distinction between good and evil, as they clearly state that Iran is concealing things. We will not let up on this issue,” he said.
Prime Minister was received at the airport in Abu Dhabi by UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed along with an honor guard. He was then scheduled to meet with President MBZ at his palace for a private meeting, which was then followed by a larger working meeting.
President Isaac Herzog, accompanied by Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel and Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej had visited Abu Dhabi in May to offer Israel’s condolences to MBZ over death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed. Before boarding the plane, Bennett said he would “bring a message of consolation on death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed”.
“Today we will build another floor in the special connection taking shape between two countries for the growth and security of two nations,” Bennett said before boarding the plane to Abu Dhabi.