Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 24 September 2020

International leaders welcome UAE-Israel accord

Presidential candidate Joe Biden says he will continue to 'build on these steps' if he wins the election in November

TOPSHOT - (L-R)Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump, Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan wave from the Truman Balcony at the White House after they participated in the signing of the Abraham Accords where the countries of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates recognize Israel, in Washington, DC, September 15, 2020. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the foreign ministers of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates arrived September 15, 2020 at the White House to sign historic accords normalizing ties between the Jewish and Arab states. / AFP / SAUL LOEB
TOPSHOT - (L-R)Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump, Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan wave from the Truman Balcony at the White House after they participated in the signing of the Abraham Accords where the countries of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates recognize Israel, in Washington, DC, September 15, 2020. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the foreign ministers of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates arrived September 15, 2020 at the White House to sign historic accords normalizing ties between the Jewish and Arab states. / AFP / SAUL LOEB

World leaders praised the diplomatic accords signed between the UAE, Bahrain and Israel at the White House on Tuesday, expressing support for agreements they say create new prospects for peace in the region.

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden called the deals a “historic step to bridge the deep divides of the Middle East,” and said he would continue to build on the momentum of the accords if he wins the election in November.

“It is good to see others in the Middle East recognising Israel and even welcoming it as a partner,” he said in a statement on Wednesday night.

“A Biden-Harris Administration will build on these steps, challenge other nations to keep pace, and work to leverage these growing ties into progress toward a two-state solution and a more stable, peaceful region.”

Following his expression of support for the UAE-Israel accord after it was announced last month, Josep Borrell, the European Union's top diplomat tweeted to say the “EU welcomes establishment of relations between Bahrain & Israel as a positive step for the region.”

He added: “peace and security requires regional and inclusive approach with a two-state solution built on the internationally agreed parameters and international law.”

The signing ceremony hosted by US President Donald Trump at the White House was attended by former British prime minister Tony Blair alongside senior US officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and senior adviser Jared Kushner.

Mr Blair described the agreements as “a massive and welcome opportunity to recast the politics of the region."

Officials from Oman, Egypt and Sudan were also among the high-level international guests present for the official signing of the Abraham Accords, named after the patriarch of the world’s three major monotheistic religions.

A separate 12-point agreement between Israel and the UAE establishes full relations between the two countries paving the way for trade and cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including fields such as health care, innovation, aviation, environment and energy to spur economic activity.

Speaking in English before switching to Arabic as he addressed around 700 officials, diplomats, politicians and guests on Tuesday, the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed said, "today, we are already witnessing a change in the heart of the Middle East and a change that will send hope around the world.”

In a meeting with Mr Trump ahead of the ceremony he said, "our region has suffered far too long. We want to show our people, the region and the world that there is good news."

The treaties are the first to be signed by Israel and an Arab nation since Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

Sheikh Abdullah, alongside Bahrain's Foreign Minister Dr Abdullatif Al Zayani signed agreements with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mr Trump in English, Arabic and Hebrew.

"After decades of division and conflict we mark the dawn of a new Middle East thanks to the great courage of the leaders of these three countries," Mr Trump said.

The US President claimed that "five or six" more Arab countries were poised to agree to follow the UAE and Bahrain in normalising relations with Israel.

"We're very far down the road with about five countries, five additional countries," Mr Trump said, speaking from the Oval Office ahead of the signing ceremony on Tuesday.

Updated: September 21, 2020 03:27 PM

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