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Israel welcomes new UAE ambassador

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

Israel's Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi welcomed the first ambassador from the United Arab Emirates in Israel on March 1, 2021. In a statement and photos from Israel's Foreign Ministry, Ashkenazi said that this was "another historic day in the Middle East and a great step towards strengthening peace between countries and peoples."

Muhammad al-Khaja was at the Israeli Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem for the welcome. The Israeli Foreign Minister congratulated the Ambassador and noted the important role of the UAE in leading the change created by the Abrahamic Agreements throughout the Middle East.

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and UAE Ambassador MohammedAl-Khaja at today's meeting (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

"We have a historic opportunity to present a model of warm and comprehensive peace between countries and peoples. The opening of Foreign Ministry missions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and the opening of the Emirates' Embassy in Israel are critical to establishing bilateral relations and promoting peace. I am happy to see the rapid warming of relations between the countries, and the realization of the vision of peace between cultures and people," Ashkenazi said.

After the meeting between the Ambassador and Foreign Minister a working meeting took place with the staff of the UAE Embassy. Israeli diplomat Alon Ushpiz and Middle East Deputy Director Haim Regev played a part in the meeting.

Israel says that Al-Khaja landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Monday. He was received by the head of the ceremony department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the afternoon, the ambassador was expected to arrive at the President's House for the presentation of the traditional credentials and the staff would continue a working meeting at the ministry. The delegation was also scheduled to go to Yad Vashem.

Al-Khaja was sworn in on February 14 in the UAE. Israel's head of mission Eitan Na'eh has been in the UAE since mid-January. On February 26 Al-Khaja wrote "For Emiratis and Israelis, a new chapter of openness, understanding and prosperity is beginning. Looking forward to my first visit. See you next week. Shabbat Shalom."

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