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Mossad chief to visit UAE to sign normalisation deal: reports

Israel and the UAE have long maintained diplomatic back channels over mutual interests [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 August, 2020

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Israel's intelligence community has lauded Yossi Cohen for spearheading efforts to forge the agreement, according to local media reports.

The head of Israel's spy agency will lead an official state delegation in a visit to the United Arab Emirates early next week to discuss details of a so-called 'peace agreement' between Israel and the Gulf state, Israeli media reported on Friday.

According to Channel 12 news, Mossad chief Yossi Cohen will meet with senior Emirati officials during the trip.

It is expected that the Trump-brokered agreement to normalise ties will be signed there, ahead of a formal meeting between the nation's leaders in upcoming weeks.

"Yesterday was a very exciting day for the Mossad", Cohen said, as cited in the report., adding: "I didn’t think I'd be as excited, a little like a teenager"

"Our role in the Mossad is not only to prevent war or foil terrorist attacks against Israel, but to identify different opportunities for peace in the region, and act with full force to advance them."

The intelligence community in Israel have lauded Cohen for spearheading efforts to forge the agreement.

Israel and the UAE have long maintained diplomatic back channels over mutual interests with the help of Mossad, who has shared secret ties with Gulf states.

Cohen, who frequently meeting with intelligence counterparts in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, is even reported to help brokered Netanyahu's state visit to Oman in 2018.

This year, Cohen took several trips to the UAE, aiming to enhance cooperation between the two countries. The coronavirus pandemic became the pretext for galvanising rapprochement, with Mossad procuring medical supplies from the UAE on a secret flight.

Yet US officials have touted an op-ed written by Yousef al-Otaiba, the UAE's ambassador the US and an individual close to the Trump administration, in which he called on the Israel not to annex occupied territory, as being the turning point in the formation of the agreement, now called the "Abraham Accord".

Jared Kushner, Trump's senior adviser, subsequently oversaw closed-door negotiations between officials from both countries, before Thursday's announcement.

Analysts see the deal as granting Trump an apparent triumph at time he has been struggling with the deadly impact of the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing economic collapse ahead of November elections, in which current polls have him set to lose.  

While the Emiratis claim that the deal is contingent on Israel holding to its pledge to forgo annexation, Netanyahu says it only marks a temporary pause to the plan to "declare sovereignty" over large swathes of the West Bank and Jordan Valley.

Read also: World reacts to 'historic' Israel-UAE deal

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