Abu Dhabi, UAE. (Shutterstock) (Shutterstock)
Abu Dhabi.

A step towards full diplomatic ties? Israel will open a diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi, but will not establish official ties with United Arab Emirates – yet.

Israel is set to establish its first diplomatic presence in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), albeit not with the UAE itself.

The Israeli office will not formally constitute an Israeli diplomatic representation to the United Arab Emirates, but instead to the United Nations International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which has its headquarters in the Gulf state.

Dore Gold, director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, visited Abu Dhabi earlier last week for three days to discuss the office’s future activities and to finalize the opening of the mission, including meeting with IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin, Israel’s Haaretz reported.

Israeli Ambassador Dore Gold in 1998

Director General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry Dore Gold. (AP Photo/Khue Bui)

The opening of the mission follows a several-year process by Israel to establish a presence in the UAE. In 2009, Israel supported the UAE’s bid to host the headquarters of IRENA with the understanding that it would eventually allow Israel to have a diplomatic presence in the Gulf State.

The 2010 assassination of Hamas member Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai, which the UAE blamed on Israel, set back the process.

In January 2010, Israel’s Minister of National Infrastructure Uzi Landau attended a renewable energy conference in Abu Dhabi. He was the first Israeli minister to ever visit UAE.

Israel will be the only country in the 145-member IRENA that will have its diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi accredited solely to IRENA. Israel will not fly its flag, but inside its offices it will display the state’s symbols.

Israel and the United Arab Emirates do not have diplomatic relations. The UAE does not recognize Israel as a state. At the same time, the Palestinian Authority (PA) maintains a consulate general in Dubai and an embassy in Abu Dhabi. The UAE maintains a representative office in Ramallah.

Israel’s mission will be unique when it comes to the workings of IRENA, which normally hosts foreign officials on temporary visits for specific conferences. In this case, Israel is likely expecting to turn its official IRENA representation into an unofficial embassy in Dubai, albeit without a corresponding representative in Israel.

However, the UAE government said it does not plan to change its relationship with Israel any time soon.

“The International Renewable Energy Agency is an international, independent agency that works according to the laws, regulations and norms that govern the work of such organizations. Any agreement between IRENA and Israel does not represent any change in the position of the UAE or its relations with Israel,” UAE Foreign Ministry’s Director of Communications Maryam Al Falasi said on Friday.

Al Falasi stated that missions accredited to IRENA are limited to dealings with agency business, nothing more. “They do not, under any circumstances, cover any other activities and do not involve any obligation upon the host country with regards to its diplomatic relations or any other relations,” she said.

The IRENA itself stated that “under the agreement, the work of member missions is confined to engagement with the agency in implementation of its work program focused on the uptake of renewable energy, and bears no implication on the relation between the member of IRENA and the host country.”

By: JNS.org and JNI.Media

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