A top-level Israeli official recently visited Abu Dhabi, but it’s not for espionage or undercover: It’s part of an opening an energy office in the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) capital city. However, it does not signal that the Arab nation is open to having formal diplomatic relations with the Jewish State, according to the UAE news agency WAM.
The office represents Israel at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and Maryam Al Falasi, the Director of Communications at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told WAM that as an independent global agency, IRENA has it’s own set of rules and the Israeli office will strictly be relating to the energy group. Al Falasi underscored this did not signal any changes in the UAE-Israel relationship. Haaretz first uncovered the office opening and also reported that Dr. Dore Gold, director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, recently visited the UAE as part of the process and for an IRENA meeting.
The Haaretz article cited a senior Israeli official as saying that they chose the unusual approach to post an office to IRENA despite not having diplomatic ties to the UAE so as to have an official, public presence in the Arab nation. In a press release from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, the Israeli leader praised Dr. Gold and the Foreign Ministry on the move.
“This reflects the fact that Israel is appreciated in many fields including technology, and other fields, both within the Middle East and beyond,” said Netanyahu.
Al Jazeera interviewed Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon about the office. The Israeli noted that the IRENA office is in Abu Dhabi only because that organization happens to be based in the UAE and will be accredited solely to IRENA—not the Arab host country. Nonetheless, Nahshon also said that Israel wants to someday have diplomatic relations with all nations in the region, including the UAE.
Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab states with full diplomatic relations with Israel.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, November 29, 2015)