Minister Katz visits Abu Dhabi: A 'significant step' in Israel-Arab relations

Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz visited Abu Dhabi,met UN Secretary-General António Guterres and discussed with him the issue of Israeli IDF soldiers and civilians who are currently held captive.

Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz  (photo credit: Courtesy)
Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Foreign Minister Israel Katz took part in a UN meeting on the environment in Abu Dhabi, the Foreign Ministry announced on Monday, just days after Israelis – including journalists – openly visited Bahrain for a US-sponsored conference there.
According to Shalicar,  Katz -- WHO ALSO HOLDS THE MINISTRY OF INTELLIGENCE PORTFOLIO -- met with a senior United Arab Emirates official. Katz flew to Abu Dhabi on Sunday, and left on Monday.
"I am excited to stand here in Abu Dhabi and to represent the interests of the State of Israel vis-à-vis the Arab Gulf states,” Katz said. “This is a significant step up in the relations between Israel and the states in the region.
This was Katz's second public visit to a Persian Gulf country in eight months: in November, as Transportation Minister, he attended a transportation conference in Oman.
During Katz's meeting with the UAE official, the Foreign Ministry statement said, the relationship between Israel and the UAE was discussed, as were regional issues, including the need to deal with the threat of a nuclear Iran, that country’s ballistic missile development and its support for terrorists in the region.
The statement said that Katz and his UAE interlocutor also discussed developing ties between the two countries in the spheres of high tech, energy, agriculture and water management.
“I will continue to work with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to promote the normalization policy from a position of strength, based on Israel's capabilities, both in the fields of security and intelligence, and in the various civilian spheres. I see this as one of my major challenges as foreign minister, and I intend to continue leading this policy in the future,” he said.
Katz also presented his ambitious “Tracks to Peace “ plan that would link the Persian Gulf countries to the Mediteranean Sea via train tracks running through Jordan and Israel. Katz presented this plan at an international railroad conference in Oman in November.
Katz's visit Monday was the first public visit by an Isareli minister -- outside of his own trip to Oman -- since Netanyahu wen to Oman in October, and Sports and Culture Minister Miri Regev went to the UAE that same month after Israel's judo team won gold in a tournament there.
Katz took part in the UN's two day Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting that brought together more than 1,700 government ministers, business leaders and environment experts from some 160 countries to look at the progress that has been made since the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
Katz also met on the sidelines of the conference with UN Secretary General António Guterres and raised the issue of missing IDF soldiers and the kidnapped Israelis being held in Gaza.