(Reuters) – The foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates, Abdullah Bin Zayed, said on Wednesday that he would visit Israel soon, adding that his country was impressed with the growing bilateral relationship.
Bin Zayed also said during a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Washington D.C. that there could be no talk of peace in the Middle East if Israel and the Palestinians were not “on talking terms”.
He stressed that a more successful UAE-Israeli relationship would encourage both Israelis and Palestinians to see “that this path works, that this path is worth not only investing in but also taking the risk”.
Last year, Israel and the UAE agreed to normalize relations in a major shift in Middle East politics from the Palestinian issue to the fight against Iran.
On the conflict in Yemen, the UAE wants a resolution “but what’s dragging us in the situation is the lack of will and commitment on the Houthis’ side”, Bin Zayed said, referring to the Iran-aligned movement that ousted the internationally recognized government from the capital Sanaa in 2014 and now holds most of northern Yemen and main urban centers.
“We are all working very hard among friends to ensure Yemenis have a better life. But at the same time, we have to keep in mind that we don’t end up with a situation where we have another Hezbollah threatening the border of Saudi Arabia,” he said, referring to the powerful Shi’ite group aligned to Iran in Lebanon.
(Reporting by Lilian Wagdy; Editing by Gareth Jones and Giles Elgood)