Hello, Abdullah! Hello, Gabi!

DUBAI/YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters/Hamodia) -
Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The UAE and Israeli foreign ministers held their first publicly-acknowledged call on Sunday after the Gulf state opened telephone lines to Israel as part of a normalization of ties.

The two foreign ministers spoke by phone to inaugurate the newly-opened lines. Israel’s Gabi Ashkenazi said he and his UAE counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, agreed during the call “to meet soon.”

In the meantime, they “jointly decided to establish a direct channel of communications between them, ahead of the signing of the normalization agreement between both countries,” Ashkenazi said in a statement.

Israel’s Communications Ministry said UAE telecoms providers unblocked calls to numbers with Israel’s +972 country code.

Reuters made several calls from the UAE to Israel on Sunday and Israeli news websites that previously were blocked in the UAE could also be seen using UAE internet connections.

“I congratulate the United Arab Emirates on the unblocking,” Israeli Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel said on Twitter.

“Many economic opportunities will now open up, and these trust-building steps are important for advancing the countries’ interests.”

The UAE’s Telecoms Regulatory Authority did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Neither did the UAE’s two main telecoms operators, Du and Etisalat.