Wednesday, 28 Oct 2020

WW3: Raab applauds Trump’s controversial Israel peace agreement in milestone UAE visit

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The UK Foreign Minister welcomed the Abraham Accords, which is a peace deal for the Middle East between the UAE, Israel and Bahrain brokered by the US President. It could see the UAE and Bahrain gain access to sophisticated US weaponry as part of the peace deal with Israel, which Palestine has strongly criticised. The accords were signed at the White House in Washington on September 15.

The UK Foreign Minister met with Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in London to discuss the Abraham Accords and reaffirm the UK’s commitment to the UAE.

Mr Raab then said on Twitter the peace deal between the UAE, Israel and Bahrain is a “vital step” towards Middle Eastern peace.

He added: “I welcomed recent progress when I met UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan today, and reiterated UK-UAE cooperation remains vital to tackle shared challenges such as coronavirus and climate change.”

Both ministers expressed their hopes the new deal will help boost stability and security in the Middle East, and also discussed conflicts in Libya and Yemen and developments with Iran.

Mr Raab has previously hailed the deal during a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

He said he believed the agreement creates opportunity for dialogue between the Palestinians and Israelis, and regarded it as “important steps towards a peaceful and prosperous Middle East”.

During a visit to Israel in August, Mr Raab also said he welcomed the accord, and again said he hoped Palestinians would resume peace talks with the country which have been stalled since 2014.

The minister added on Twitter: “I reiterated UK support for dialogue with Palestinians to achieve lasting peace through a viable two-state solution.”

The Abraham Accords are believed to give the UAE and Bahrain access to American weaponry, which Israel already uses.

Palestinians have voiced their anger at being left out of the peace deal, with Noura Erakat, an American-Palestinian human rights lawyer, claiming it could be disastrous for the country.

She said in an op-ed for NBC News: “Historically, Arab states have refused to normalise relations with Israel until and when it guarantees Palestinian national rights.

“But Bahrain, like the United Arab Emirates most recently, did not secure a single lasting concession for Palestinians in its agreement with Israel — not even to slightly ease the 13-year blockade of Gaza, which has turned the tiny coastal enclave into an open-air prison.”

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Despite Palestine’s concerns, Mr Trump praised the deal.

He said after the agreement was signed by the three countries: “Thanks to the great courage of the leaders of these three countries, we take a major stride toward a future in which people of all faiths and backgrounds live together in peace and prosperity.”

Mr Pompeo also spoke to Middle Eastern news outlet The Media Line about the accord, and blamed the conflict in the region on Iran.

He added about negotiating the agreement: “We flipped the script and recognized that the central challenge in the Middle East wasn’t the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians but rather the challenge that was presented by the Islamic Republic of Iran and their anti-Semitic terrorist campaign all around the world.”

The UAE and the UK have been forging close ties, with the UAE sending Britain medical equipment in May.

The Foreign Minister described the UAE as a “true friend and valued partner of the UK” because of the gesture.

Mr Raab has been criticised before for his links to the UAE by Matthew Hedges, who was held by the country for seven months.

He said in a letter published by The Guardian: “It seems that not only does the UK government not value British lives abroad, it is happy to ignore terrible human rights abuses by regimes like the UAE, in order to deflect from their own failings during a global pandemic.”

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