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Israel officially opens embassy in the UAE

Israel officially opened its embassy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Israel yesterday officially opened its embassy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), its Foreign Ministry announced.

The controversial move comes after the UAE and Israel agreed to establish full diplomatic, cultural and commercial relations following the signing of the Abraham Accords on 15 September at the White House.

Since then Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco have all agreed to establish ties with Israel in deals brokered by the administration of former US President Donald Trump.

The Palestinians condemned the agreements as a "stab in the back".

The Israeli Foreign Ministry claimed the new embassy "will advance the range of relations between the countries in all areas and expand ties with the Emirati government, economic bodies and the private sector, academia, media and more."

Israel's government regards Jerusalem as its capital, although that is not recognised by most of the international community. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Most countries have their embassies in Tel Aviv.

The Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi will be operating from "temporary offices" until locating a permanent facility, the statement said.

READ: Israel tourist behaviour in UAE 'shameful'

The mission will "expand the ties with the Emirati government, financial bodies and the private sector, universities, the media and more," it added.

Israel and the UAE have already signed treaties on direct flights and visa-free travel, along with accords on investment protection, science and technology.

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi welcomed the move, saying the embassy would "enable the expansion of bilateral relations between Israel and the Emirates for a swift and maximal implementation of the potential in these ties."

Ashkenazi also thanked the UAE "heir to the throne, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, and my colleague and friend, Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, for their leadership and hospitality towards our representatives."

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