Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid officially inaugurated Israel’s embassy in the UAE on Tuesday, thanking former president Donald Trump as well as former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu for bringing the two countries to this “historic moment.”
“We are standing here today because we chose peace over war, cooperation over conflict, the good of our children over the bad memories of the past,” said Lapid, who was in the UAE for the first official visit to the Gulf by an Israeli minister.
“Agreements are signed by leaders but peace is made by people.”
In an unusual move, Lapid thanked rival Netanyahu and describing him as “the architect of the Abraham Accords and who worked tirelessly to bring them about.”
“Israel wants peace with all its neighbors,” Lapid said.
“We aren’t going anywhere. The Middle East is our home. We’re here to stay,” he said. “We call on all countries of the region to recognize that, and come talk to us.”
Following the inauguration, Lapid signed an economic trade agreement with his Emirati counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
UAE Culture and Knowledge Development Minister Noura Al Kaabi said, “It is essential that we prepare ourselves and our children toward a new world.”
“We underscore our enthusiasm over what we hope will be the first of many high-level visits,” she said.
She pointed to the UAE’s collaboration with Israel on AI, smart cities, COVID-19, trade, and tourism before saying the Hebrew for “thank you very much.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the embassy opening was “significant for Israel, the UAE, and the broader region.”
“The United States will continue to work with Israel and the UAE as we strengthen all aspects of our partnerships and work to create a more peaceful, secure, and prosperous future for all the peoples of the Middle East,” he added.
The opening comes almost a year after the two countries signed the Trump-led Abraham Accords to normalize ties. Three more Arab and Muslim countries, including Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, followed suit.