Israel is set to open its first diplomatic mission in the United Arab Emirates. It will have an official presence in Abu Dhabi within the next few weeks.
According to Haaretz newspaper, the Director-General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Dore Gold, arrived secretly in the UAE capital on Tuesday in order to participate in the UN’s International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) meeting. However, the main purpose of the visit was to reach a final agreement regarding the opening of the mission.
Gold stayed in Abu Dhabi for three days, during which he met with the IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin and discussed the opening of the official office.
Diplomat Rami Hatan has been appointed as head of the Israeli mission in Abu Dhabi and is expected to head to the UAE soon. Offices for the new mission have already been found and are being prepared for the official opening. An Israeli official added that Israel’s IRENA membership makes it the only state that will have a diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi that is accredited solely to IRENA. This allows Israel to be officially and openly present in the UAE.
Haaretz also reported that communications regarding the diplomatic mission began secretly years ago. The idea pushed Israel in 2009 to support the establishment of the IRENA headquarters in Abu Dhabi instead of Germany.
It is worth noting that in January 2010, a year after the establishment of IRENA, the then Israeli Infrastructure Minister, Uzi Landau, went to Abu Dhabi to participate in the IRENA conference. This was said to be the first visit of an Israeli minister to Abu Dhabi.
Less than a month after Landau’s visit, news spread of the assassination of Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh while in the UAE. Abu Dhabi’s investigations indicated that Israeli spy agency Mossad was implicated in the crime, which caused tension between Abu Dhabi and Israel, despite the fact that there was no diplomatic relations between the two countries at the time, noted Haaretz.
By 2014 the tension had subsided enough for National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom to go to Abu Dhabi for that year’s IRENA meeting. Whilst there, the Israeli official met with a number of Arab ministers and, on his return to Israel, he called for a diplomatic mission accredited to IRENA to be opened in the UAE capital.