India welcomes UAE-Israel deal, calls for talks for two-state solution for Palestinians

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India accepted on Friday the complete normalization of relations between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel, both main allies in Western Asia, and called for the early resumption of direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian leadership on a ‘two-state solution’

Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar received a call from his UAE counterpart, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on Friday afternoon, who briefed him on the normalization of relations that was announced Thursday.

“The call from FM HH @ABZayed of UAE today is greatly appreciated. Discussed the complete normalization of UAE-Israel relations declared yesterday, “Jaishankar tweeted.

The growth is critical for the government of Narendra Modi, which has assiduously courted key Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain while continuing to establish security and trade relations with Israel.

Before the Covid-19 outbreak, West Asia was home to nearly 8 million Indians and New Delhi has a strong interest in the region’s peace and prosperity. As Anurag Srivastava, spokesman for the ministry of external affairs pointed out during a daily news conference, India sees West Asia as its “extended neighborhood.”

In West Asia, which is its expanded neighborhood, India has consistently supported unity, harmony, and growth. We welcome the complete normalization of relations between the UAE and Israel in that way. Both nations are India’s main strategic allies,’ he added.

Srivastava observed, however, that India “remains its traditional support for the Palestinian cause” He said, “We want to see an early resumption of bilateral talks in order to find an appropriate compromise between two nations.”

The deal on Thursday, revealed after a discussion between Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump, makes the UAE only the third Arab nation to have direct diplomatic relations with Israel, after Egypt and Jordan.

In the coming weeks, delegations from the UAE and Israel will meet to sign agreements on the setting up of embassies, protection, direct flights, trade, tourism, technology, and energy. Israel will delay the announcement of its proposed expansion of autonomy to areas of Judea and Samaria as a result of the breakthrough and will concentrate on improving ties with other Arab and Muslim countries.

Suspending the occupation of Palestinian territory is important for countries like India, who have had to walk a fine line in their relations with both the Arab states and Israel. There are also rumors that in normalizing relations with Israel, Oman and Bahrain may be next.

But the agreement has upset Iran, another main ally of India in the region, particularly given New Delhi’s stake in developing Chabahar ‘s strategic port.

On the other side, widespread concerns regarding Iran were instrumental in getting Israel and the Arab states closer together. Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif characterized the agreement as “dangerous and unconstitutional” and said, “Palestinians are being stabbed in the back.”

The deal has also upset Turkey, saying the region’s people “will never forget and will never forgive this dishonest action” from the UAE. The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that the UAE had no power to bargain on behalf of the Palestinians with Israel or to “make sacrifices on matters critical to Palestine.”

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