Bilateral Relations

Israel, UAE Agree on Visa-Free Travel, Netanyahu Announces

By Sofia Chegodaeva /Sputnik News/ – The high-level UAE delegation arrived in Tel Aviv on Tuesday morning as part of the first official visit to Israel since signing the US-arranged agreement to normalise relations last month.

Israel and the United Arab Emirates have agreed on visa-free travel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced. 

“We are exempting our nationals from visas,” Netanyahu said, as quoted by AFP.

The two delegations also signed agreements on air transport and investment protection. The signing ceremony took place at Ben Gurion International Airport.

Earlier in the day, a high-ranking delegation from the UAE arrived in Tel Aviv, the first official visit by that country to Israel since the two signed their historic peace agreement, along with Bahrain, at the White House on 15 September. 

The UAE is the third Arab country to have reached a fully-fledged peace deal with Israel, Egypt having been the first in 1979 and Jordan the second in 1994.

In August, US President Donald Trump announced that Israel and the UAE had agreed to establish full diplomatic ties in exchange for Tel Aviv halting its West Bank plans. Netanyahu, however, emphasised that Israel’s plans to extend its sovereignty over the West Bank territories had not been abandoned but needed support from the US to be implemented. 

Trump described the deal as a “diplomatic breakthrough” which would “advance peace in the Middle East region.” He also expressed hope that more Arab states will normalise ties with Israel. Although the agreement was welcomed by the United Nations, it was greatly criticised by the Palestinian Authority which described the breakthrough as “not serving the Palestinian cause.”

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