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Israel maintains contacts with almost all Arab countries, official says

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid at the opening ceremony of the Israeli embassy in UAE, 30 June 2021 [IsraelMFA/Twitter]
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid at the opening ceremony of the Israeli embassy in UAE, 30 June 2021 [IsraelDubai/Twitter]

Israel maintains contacts with almost all Arab states, the Times of Israel newspaper reported a senior Foreign Ministry official saying today.

The Israeli newspaper identified the official as the outgoing director of the Foreign Ministry's Middle East Division, Haim Regev. He said that Israel has relations with countries officially designated as "enemy states" like Iraq.

"Over the last twenty years, the Foreign Ministry was always in touch with almost all the players in the Arab World," he said.

However, he stated that the list of covert contacts does not include Lebanon, Syria and Yemen, but does extend to Baghdad, the Times of Israel reported.

The Israeli daily cited in the same report remarks made by Iraqi Ambassador in Washington Fareed Yasseen dating back to 2019.

"There are objective reasons that may call for the establishment of relations between Iraq and Israel," Yasseen said in Arabic at an event entitled 'How Iraq Is Dealing with the Current Regional and International Developments' at Al-Hewar Center for Arab Culture and Dialogue in Washington.

READ: Saudi Arabia: minister says Israel must allow establishment of a Palestinian state

"But the objective reasons are not enough," he added, stressing that there are "emotional and other reasons" that make open communication between Israel and Iraq impossible.

Regev was one of the engineers of the Abraham Accords which saw Arab states normalise ties with Israel and were signed by the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco in 2020.

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