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Exclusive: UAE committed to 2-state solution in Palestine

anjana@khaleejtimes.com Filed on September 15, 2020 | Last updated on September 15, 2020 at 04.13 pm
Palestinian issue, Abraham Accord. UAE, committed, 2-state, Palestine solution, Envoy,

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The US-brokered peace accord, which will see Israel and the UAE normalise relations, was announced on August 13.

Signing of the Abraham Accord today is a sovereign decision the UAE has taken but will remain committed to the two-state solution to the Palestinian issue, a top diplomat of the country has said.

"What we have done is a sovereign decision as a country that is the right direction. But in a very important way, we maintain the viability of the two-state solution, which was fast becoming a very difficult possibility with the threat of annexation," Lana Nusseibeh, the UAE's ambassador to the UN, said on Monday in an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times ahead of the signing of a historic accord. A new era for the Middle East will be charted today when the UAE and Bahrain sign agreements to recognise Israel. Nusseibeh is part of the high ranking UAE delegation led by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, that is currently in Washington.

The signing of the historic accord will be held at the White House at the invitation of the US President Donald Trump. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will also be present.

The US-brokered peace accord, which will see Israel and the UAE normalise relations, was announced on August 13 between the UAE, the US and Israel.

Nusseibeh said the UAE is able to strike a balance between maintaining relations with Israel without compromising on the Palestinian issue.

"We think we can do those two things. We can have a diplomatic relationship with Israel. At the same time have a strong position towards the two-state solution to the Palestinian issue."

By bringing back the agreement, she said the UAE is maintaining the two-state stand, "which is an Arab position, an Arab League position and the UN position. We maintain our commitment to that and bolster the efforts towards the two-state solution."

The diplomat said UAE has recognised the reality on the ground that Israel is part and parcel of the region and peace is not possible if countries remain frozen in decades-old politics.

But the signing of a peace accord, she maintained, is only a first step.

"It is an important step. It is a courageous decision. It is a game changer for the region. But it is a first step for the region and should be promoted via economic opportunities, political cooperation, regional integration and opening of a new page in history," said Nusseibeh.

She said the real hard work is the actualisation of the accord through people to people connections, trade ties, tourism, understanding of each other's political systems, cultures, learning of each other languages. "All that is bricks and mortar of a stable house we want to build in the region."

For the UAE, which is primarily a dynamic, forward-looking and ambitious country in the region and globally, the envoy said, priority is always peace and security.

"We are a country with aspirations for the future; we are a country that sent a Hope Probe to Mars; we are a country that is hosting 190 nations in the Expo next year; We invited a Catholic Pope as the first in the Middle East; we are a country of educational institutions, museums and not a stand-by stereotype. This is the message that comes from the signing of the peace accord and that is what I hope history will remember this moment for," said Nusseibeh.

anjana@khaleejtimes.com 

author

Anjana Sankar

Anjana Sankar is a UAE-based journalist chasing global stories of conflict, migration and human rights. She has reported from the frontlines of the wars in Yemen and Syria and has extensively written on the refugee crisis in Bangladesh, Iraq and Europe. From interviewing Daesh militants to embedding with the UAE army in Yemen, and covering earthquakes, floods, terrorist attacks and elections, she has come out scathe-free from the most dangerous conflict zones of the world. Riding on over 14 years of experience, Anjana currently is an Assistant Editor with Khaleej Times and leads the reporting team. She often speaks about women empowerment on her Facebook page that has 40,000 plus followers.


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