Opening Embassies on Agenda in Abu Dhabi

An working group meets in Abu Dhabi, Monday. Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

The Israeli delegation that landed in Abu Dhabi on Monday isn’t there just for the ceremonies and a side trip for shopping. They are out for all the normalization they can get, before any denormalization can get going.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said that talks are underway for the UAE and Israel to open embassies on each others’ soil.

“The sides discussed the possibility of mutual opening of embassies and signing bilateral agreements to advance ties between the countries,” a statement read.

Typically, the other side was less ebullient. They didn’t issue a statement in support of the idea, but they didn’t put out a denial either.

The U.S. ambassador to the UAE is also involved in the talks, the ministry says.

“We are at the start of a historic process and we intend to advance as quickly as possible the establishment of full ties and opening embassies in both countries which will act to bolster cooperation between Israel and the UAE,” said Foreign Ministry Director Alon Ushpiz, who is leading the effort.

The Prime Minister’s Office released a statement Monday elaborating on the talks being held, in working groups that include Israeli, Emirati and American representatives on the following issues: Diplomacy; finances; aviation and entry visas; health; culture and tourism; space, science and investments; innovation and trade.

Following is a list of the working groups and the issues they will be discussing:

  1. Diplomacy

* Advancing the establishment of full diplomatic relations

* Opening representations and determining an agreed-upon date

* Determining frequent bilateral dialogues between the countries on diplomatic and regional issues, and according to working groups

* A media plan directed at public opinion in both countries

  1. Finances

* Establishing a tax treaty and determining taxation rules

* Cooperation regarding the prohibition on money-laundering

* A memorandum of intent to cooperate and hold dialogue on issues regarding financial services

* Establishing an investment protection agreement

* Beginning a feasibility study on establishing a financial protocol between the two countries

  1. Aviation and visas

* Establishing an aviation agreement and agreeing on the opening of direct air routes

* Establishing reciprocity regarding visas for visitors

  1. Investments, innovation and trade

* Establishing an economic-commercial framework agreement between the countries

* Investments in specific sectors including (inter alia) energy and hotels

* Cooperation in research and development and establishing a joint innovation fund

  1. Health

* Strategic cooperation regarding the coronavirus

* A cooperation agreement between health agencies regarding emergency preparedness

  1. Culture and tourism

* Regional tourism packages in cooperation with Jordan and Egypt

* Joint marketing of a tourism package including Israel and the UAE for tourists from third countries

* Establishing an agreement to encourage joint television and cinema productions

* A cooperation agreement on cultural events

* Interfaith dialogue

  1. Space and science

* A cooperation agreement on civilian use of space

* Agreement on a framework for scientific and technological cooperation in a range of areas