What is this about?
In Berlin, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed are meeting for the first time. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is receiving his two counterparts at his guest house Villa Borsig in the Berlin district of Tegel. Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced only recently, in the summer, that they intended to normalise their relations. In return, the Israeli Government suspended its planned annexation of parts of the West Bank.
Germany expressly welcomed the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, which was brokered by the US. This development shows that peaceful coexistence between the countries of the Middle East is possible and offers a wealth of opportunities for new economic cooperation, collaboration in research and development, and cultural exchange between the countries in the region. The fact that this has led to a great deal of momentum was illustrated recently when Bahrain followed suit in establishing diplomatic relations with Israel. Moreover, Saudi Arabia has opened up its airspace for direct flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi.
Why is Germany getting involved?
Germany and its European partners hope that these developments will inject fresh impetus into the Middle East peace process. After all, a solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is essential for long-term stability and peace in the region. In the view of the Federal Government, a two-state solution negotiated between the two sides continues to be the most promising model. Germany is prepared to lend its active support to new steps towards rapprochement between the two sides with its partners in Europe and the region. Foreign Minister Maas intends to exchange views with his counterparts on how the current momentum can be harnessed for this process.
What is planned?
The meeting between the Israeli and UAE Foreign Ministers will begin with a joint visit to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and its Information Centre, where Foreign Minister Maas will receive both guests. Thereafter, the Israeli and UAE Foreign Ministers will hold talks at the German Foreign Minister’s guest house in Tegel. At the end of the day, the three Foreign Ministers will discuss developments in the Middle East peace process and in the region over a joint dinner.
Before the visit, Foreign Minister Maas thanked his counterparts for choosing Berlin as the venue for their first meeting:
The most important currency in diplomacy is trust, and I’m grateful to my two counterparts for placing this trust in Germany. We’re doing everything we can to be good hosts for the dialogue between the two countries on how to shape their future bilateral relations.