Israel and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to normalize their relations, announced US President Donald Trump.
A joint statement by Mr Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed Al Nahyan said they hoped “the historic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East.”
As a result, they added, Israel would suspend its plans to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank.
So far, Israel has had no diplomatic relations with Arab Gulf countries.
However, shared concerns about Iran’s regional influence led to unofficial contacts between them.
In response to President Trump’s announcement, Mr. Netanyahu tweeted in Hebrew: “Historic Day”.
United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba said in a statement that it was “a victory for diplomacy and for the region.”
“This is a significant breakthrough in Arab-Israeli relations that reduces tensions and creates new energy for positive change,” he added.
This agreement is only the third Israeli-Arab peace agreement since Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948. Egypt signed one in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
In the coming weeks, delegations from Israel and the United Arab Emirates will meet to sign bilateral agreements on investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, health , culture, environment, the creation of reciprocal embassies.
The countries will also join the United States in launching a “Strategic Agenda for the Middle East”, according to the joint statement.
The leaders said they had “a similar vision of threats and opportunities in the region, as well as a common commitment to promote stability through diplomatic engagement, increased economic integration and closer security.”