Dubai: A new era for the Middle East will be charted Tuesday when the UAE and Bahrain sign peace agreements with Israel. The UAE’s development of a relationship with Israel started off informally, before a firm policy emerged. The UAE is of the opinion that the region needed a strategic breakthrough, and acted in its interest. The intention seems to be to foster a resumption of diplomacy, which in turn could end the current impasse that prevails in the region.
In a virtual press conference, Dr. Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, provided an update on the UAE-Israel Peace Accord ahead of the signing ceremony in Washington DC on Tuesday.
Follow the updates here:
On Joe Biden and Abrahamic Accords
We are very encouraged by Joe Biden's support for the Abrahamic Accords.
This is a bipartisan US show of support for bold effort by UAE to normalise relations with Israel. Following what have been traumatic events in the region like in Afghanistan, Iraq we see American success here [Abrahamic Accord].
Gargash's answer to Gulf News’ question on what shift the deal will bring in regional dynamics
I hope the shift will be for the better. Rather than answering you with countries, I will answer you with values. Will bring shift towards de-escalation in the region. In the understanding that the polarisation has been disastrous. It is not a bad thing to dream, aspire. But we have to work very hard to realise these goals.
The path of harmony and tolerance
The UAE is a country where there are many nationalities, religions. The path forward is harmony and ethnic tolerance. This is not only our view towards Jews but also Hindus, Christians and Sikhs. Their right to religious observance is preserved.
The Abrahamic House will have a synagogue.
We have ambitious plans for peace
We feel a policy of the empty chair has not served the Palestinians or Arabs well.
There are no border or territory or water issues here. So we will move faster [on issues like] establishing embassies and consulates.
We seek to sign double taxation agreement, protection of investment agreement, we seek air services agreement to regularise air services between UAE and Israel. We have ambitious plan to build a constructive peace.
We are not shackled with a history of war or territorial issues
I take issue with the precept that Egypt and Jordan don't have more leverage with Israel now than before. I think they do. The Israelis have, in difficult times, listened to Egyptian side. Our leverage will be different. We are not shackled with a history of war or territorial issues.
The more Arab countries have leverage, the more Israel will understand the region's concerns.
Our goals remain the same for Palestine
This deal is not against this country or that party. It is primarily about UAE and Israel. The Arab Peace Initiative remains at the heart of our collective efforts to reach a solution. Our goals have not changed when it comes to the Palestinian issue. The suspension of annexation is a clear deliverable.
Once the dust settles, the Palestinians will understand and appreciate that countries that have a functioning relation...will make us be in a better place to support and help the Palestinians. They have to decide if and how they want us to help.
Overcoming the psychological barrier
How can you change something that you have been doing over so many years? Once the barrier is broken, it becomes more manageable. But it doesn't mean that it will become easier. I am confident this accord will help the UAE become a very successful Arab, Muslim economy.
Build cultural and trade links
It is an opportunity for Israel to show a peace that yields positive results. We are all looking forward to making this work. When His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces took this decision, the heaviest burden was the psychological barrier.
This is the way forward
With agreements like these, there is a need for time - to realise the full potential. We are very much hopeful that this is the way forward for the region. We have been doing things viz a vis the Arab Israeli issue the same way, and it has not led us anywhere. UAE position remains support for viable Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The Palestinians have more of a chance of realising what has been their national aspirations.
The type of peace we want to build is really a peace that links any two states.
Work not over yet
This will not happen overnight. But got the concession of suspension of annexation plans. The signing of the deal does not mean that the work is over. It is our job in the UAE, in Israel, in the US - which has been an enthusiastic interlocutor - to make it a warm peace.
Accord not directed at anyone
We have for a long time spoken about religious tolerance, cultural tolerance. We have been saying political disputes should be resolved but they need not be obstacles towards building healthy bilateral relations. In the region, the accord is not directed at anybody.
Regionally, we feel that with regards to the Arab-Israeli issue, a strategic breakthrough is needed.
Truly historic day
This is truly historic day, at 8Pm UAE time we will be signing the Abraham Accord. We are very positive that this historic accord will bring in the results that we would like to see. On the bilateral sphere, one of the major driver of the accord, will make the UAE more competitive.
The accord will help UAE become a global player in terms of breaking taboos and walls.