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Israel's foreign minister met with 'high ranking' UAE official to discuss 'normalising Gulf ties'

Israel's foreign minister visited the UAE for a UN conference earlier this year. [Twitter]

Date of publication: 6 August, 2019

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Israel and the UAE do not have formal diplomatic relations, but the two have developed increasingly close ties over shared concerns about Iran.
Israel's foreign minister says he recently met with a "high ranking persona" from the United Arab Emirates to improve ties between Israel and Arab states.

Israel Katz told a ministers' meeting on Tuesday that the two reached "substantial agreements," adding that he was working toward "transparent normalisation and signed agreements" with Gulf states.

He added: "We do not have a conflict with them."

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has often boasted of improving ties with Arab states that share Israel's concerns about Iran. 

Katz visited the UAE for a UN conference earlier this year, days after Israelis took part in a US-backed conference in Bahrain on Palestine.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said he met with a senior UAE official there. 

Israel and the UAE do not have formal diplomatic relations, but the two have developed increasingly close ties over shared concerns about Iran.

Visits by senior Israeli officials to Gulf states are rare, but growing in frequency.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited Oman last year. Israel's minister of sport and culture also made the first official visit by an Israeli minister to the UAE.

Israel's military occupation of the Palestinian territories is still widely seen as an obstacle to publicly improving ties with Arab states.

Israel has diplomatic relations with only two Arab countries - Egypt and Jordan.

But Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have long had unofficial relations with Israel.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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