Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Monday he is “very optimistic” following a historic two-day trip to the United Arab Emirates during which he met with Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The trip was the first for an Israeli leader and comes after the two countries established relations last year under the terms of the Abraham Accords brokered by the Trump administration.
The two reportedly discussed deepening economic and commercial ties, according to a joint statement.
“In just one year since normalizing our relationship, we’ve already seen the extraordinary potential of the Israel-UAE partnership,” Bennett said.
The statement did not mention two issues facing the region: Iran’s nuclear program and Israeli-Palestinian relations.
Israel and the UAE share concerns over Iran’s nuclear program, which Iran says is for peaceful purposes. Both countries are concerned that current international talks with Iran in Vienna could lead to an easing of sanctions against Tehran and an acceleration of its nuclear program.
At stake in the Vienna talks is the resumption of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that set limits to Iran’s nuclear program lasting from 10 to 15 years in exchange for relief from crippling economic sanctions.
Former President Donald Trump, claiming the agreement was weak and favored Iran, withdrew the United States from the pact in 2018, after which Iran began stepping away from its commitments.
“I’m flying back to Israel very optimistic that this relationship can set an example of how we can make peace in the Middle East,” Bennett said.
Bennett became prime minister six months ago, replacing Benjamin Netanyahu.