Abu Dhabi: Senior US and Israeli officials landed in the United Arab Emirates on Monday on a historic trip to finalise a pact marking open relations between Israel and the Gulf state, and they told Palestinians it was now time for them to negotiate peace.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner also said on arrival that Washington could help advancing its ties to the UAE, the Arab world's second largest economy and a regional power.
Announced on Aug. 13, the normalisation deal is the first of its kind between an Arab country and Israel in more than 20 years.
Jared Kouchner, Robert O'Brien and Meir Ben Shabat held a press conference at the airport upon their arrival via the first-ever commercial flight from Tel Aviv to the UAE's capital.
The Head of Israel's National Security Council, Meir Ben-Shabbat, read his first statement to the media in Arabic after he landed in Abu Dhabi.
Bin-Shabbat, who stood next to US President's senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and US' National Security Adviser, Robert O'Brien, at the media briefing, started his statement, reported WAM, with the Islamic greeting "As-salamu alaykum," which means "Peace be upon you."
"I'm proud and really pleased to head the Israeli delegation. We are here to turn a vision into a reality," he told the reporters in Arabic. "There are no limits for improvement in many fields [between the UAE and Israel] like innovation, tourism, aviation, agriculture, energy and many others."
Ben-Shabbat, who was appointed Israel Prime Minister's national security adviser in 2017, read his second statement in Hebrew.
The top-level US-Israel delegation was received at the airport by Dr Anwar Gargash, UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
Meanwhile, Lior Haiat, Spokesperson for Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told WAM, ""The important decision to abolish the boycott on Israel and Israeli companies is an important step towards normalisation. The UAE President [Sheikh] Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, took a historic decision that shows real leadership."
"We hope that it would be a quick process [the normalisation] and within a few weeks or months we would be able to see the fruits of this process," he added.
The top Israeli official, who worked as his country’s consul-general in Miami, US, between 2016-2019, said that the delegation will discuss with the Emirati officials diplomatic relations, tourism, science and space, trade and investments, as well as cultural and health research.
"The idea is to build the infrastructure of the relationship between the countries and between the peoples," he continued.
"The UAE and Israel are two of the most innovative countries in the region. There is a lot of potential for cooperation in science and research, and also in trade and tourism."
The delegation will depart Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
A US-Israeli delegation, led by Jared Kushner, Senior Adviser to US President Donald Trump, arrived at the presidential airport in Abu Dhabi on Monday, reported Emirates News Agency (WAM).
The delegation left on Monday morning on board the first Israeli commercial plane to UAE, on which the word "peace" was printed in Arabic, English and Hebrew above a cockpit window. The plane landed in the UAE capital Monday afternoon.
The delegation, comprised of representatives from the investment, finance, health, civil space and aviation, foreign policy, diplomacy, tourism, and culture sectors, will meet with a number of representatives of UAE government agencies to discuss ways to develop relations in related fields and promote joint action and opportunities for cooperation.
The meeting will touch on ways to promote joint action and opportunities for prospects of cooperation.
The visit comes as part of trilateral efforts to normalise relations that help achieve peace, stability, and support bilateral cooperation.
An Israeli commercial plane carrying a US-Israeli delegation will arrive in Abu Dhabi at around 3pm, according to Abu Dhabi Airports flight schedule. Flight no ‘PVT2357’ from Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport will reach UAE’s capital at 15:06, the schedule said.
The delegation includes Jared Kushner, senior adviser to US President Donald Trump, and Meir Ben-Shabbat, National Security Adviser and head of the Israeli National Security Council. This will be the first Israeli commercial plane to land in the UAE.
A return flight from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, an El Al spokesman told Reuters last week. Industry sources expect a potential deal between the two countries to provide a new revenue stream for UAE airlines as they slowly recover from the impact of the pandemic.
-With inputs from WAM, Reuters