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Israel-UAE normalisation accord to be signed Sept 15 at White House

The normalisation accord has been slammed by Palestinian factions [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 September, 2020

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The controversial normalisation agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel is due to be signed at the White House on September 15, a US official revealed.
Israel and the United Arab Emirates will sign a US-brokered agreement normalising their relations at the White House on September 15, a US official said on Tuesday.

It is Israel's first such agreement with a Gulf nation and only its third with an Arab state, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

The establishment of diplomatic relations between the Jewish state and US allies in the Middle East, including the oil-rich Gulf monarchies, is central to US President Donald Trump's regional strategy to contain Iran, also an arch-foe of Israel.

The landmark deal between Israel and the UAE was reached last month - a bombshell announced by Trump himself.

"President Trump will host a historic signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords on September 15 at the White House," a senior White House official said.

Senior delegations from both countries will be present, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is "likely" to lead the contingent from the Jewish state, the official said.

Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed will lead their delegation, the official added.

Under the deal, Israel has agreed to "suspend" annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, without saying for how long. Netanyahu maintains the annexation plans are merely on pause.

The Palestinians have slammed the UAE's move as a "stab in the back" while their own conflict with Israel remains unresolved.

Washington has expressed hope that more Arab countries will build ties with Israel, as a way of building stability in the turbulent Middle East.

The announcement came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday revealed Chad is considering the possible opening of an embassy in Jerusalem.

Chad, one of the world's poorest countries, is not an Arab League member state but belongs to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

US President Donald Trump recognised the disputed city as Israel's "undivided capital" in December 2017, breaking with decades of international consensus that its status should be settled in a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. 

The latest developments also come just days after Serbia said it would transfer its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, becoming the first European country to follow the US in making the move.

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