Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says he is “very optimistic” after a one-day trip to the United Arab Emirates — the first official visit to the Gulf country by an Israeli leader since the countries established relations last year.
Bennett met Monday with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince and de facto ruler of the Emirates for some four hours, with more than half of the time spent in one-on-one talks, according to Bennett’s office.
“Throughout the day we had meaningful, in-depth and straightforward talks about our two nations, about the region and about our economy and technology and what we can do together. I am flying back to Israel very optimistic that this relationship can set an example of how we can make peace here in the Middle East,” Bennett says in a statement in English.
In a joint statement, the two countries say the visit marked “another milestone in the development of warm relations and a tremendous partnership.”
The statement says the sides agreed to establish a joint research and development fund.
“This joint fund, and a corresponding joint business council, will harness leading economic and technological minds in the UAE and in Israel, and task them with commercializing solutions to challenges ranging from climate change and desertification to clean energy and future agriculture,” the statement says.
According to Kan, Bennett invited the crown prince to visit Israel.