1st time: Israeli minister at Abu Dhabi renewable energy conference

1st time: Israeli minister at Abu Dhabi renewable energy conference

For the first time ever, an Israeli Minister participated on last week in an official international conference in Abu Dhabi, the capital of United Arab Emirates, a country that does not maintain any form of diplomatic relationship with the Jewish state.

Israeli Minister of Infrastructure, Uzi Landau, according to a report by Radio Israel (Kol Israel), participated in a conference organized by the International Agency for Renewable Energy that was held in Abu Dhabi, on renewable energy technology and resources.

The UAE Foreign Ministry in turn, confirmed the report, saying the minister had been present at the meetings.

A source from the UAE Foreign Ministry said that the participation of the Israeli minister “does not mean normalization between the two countries,” instead it “falls within the framework of our obligations as host country of the headquarters of the agency,” pointing out that the minister’s visit has “no bearing on the level of bilateral relations.”

The official ruled out the existence of any normalization of diplomatic relationships between the two nations. For his part, Landau told the radio station earlier, via a telephone call, that “for the first time, a visit by the Israeli Minister to Abu Dhabi after receiving an invitation.”

The Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv reported that Landau “finally finished the first visit by an Israeli minister to the United Arab Emirates to participate in the Conference of the International Agency for renewable energy,” confirming again the minister’s attendance.

It said that the minister delivered a speech to the conference, where he invited everyone to participate in Eilat Conference for Renewable Energies, to be held by Israel in the middle of next month.

Minister Landau suggested participating in the Conference to cooperate with each other in order to address “water problems in the region,” pointing out that Israel has extensive experience in this area.

The newspaper added that Landau emphasized that Israel is ready to cooperate with other countries for the implementation of projects to develop methods for the use of clean energy.

On the other hand, Israeli public radio quoted at the start of its news bulletins that an Emirati official source denied that the participation of Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau in the meetings of the energy conference began its work in Abu Dhabi as a step towards direct communication between the two countries, adding that the obligations in the UAE “to host the headquarters of the International Energy Agency is the only reason for the participation of the Israeli minister.”

Landau said in a statement issued by the ministry that Israel “could contribute greatly in the field of renewable energy and developing technologies, and wants to be a central element in this area.” Israeli radio said that Landau was accompanied by representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and experts from the Ministry of Infrastructure.

**additional reporting by Mohamed Abdel Salam