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UAE, Israel sign first trade agreement since peace deal

Cars pass by beneath Israeli and United Arab Emirates flags ligning a road in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya, on August 16, 2020 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]
Cars pass by beneath Israeli and United Arab Emirates flags ligning a road in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya, on August 16, 2020 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel on Saturday signed the first commercial cooperation agreement since Abu-Dhabi and Tel Aviv announced a peace deal on Thursday.

The UAE's Apex National Investment company has signed a "strategic commercial agreement" with Israel's TeraGroup to conduct research into COVID-19, the UAE's WAM news agency reported.

The agency quoted APEX's Chairman, Khalifa Yousef Khoury, as saying that the deal "is considered the first business to inaugurate trade, economy and effective partnerships between the Emirati and Israeli business sectors," adding that it aims to benefit and serve humanity by strengthening research and studies on the novel coronavirus.

On Thursday, US President Donald Trump announced a peace deal between the UAE and Israel brokered by Washington.

Abu Dhabi said the deal was an effort to stave of Tel Aviv's planned annexation of the occupied West Bank, however, opponents believe normalisation efforts have been in the offing for many years as Israeli officials have made official visits to the UAE and attended conferences in the country which had no diplomatic of other ties with the occupation state.

READ: Israel delegation heading to UAE for talks

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