Israel and UAE to sign more deals, Lapid says
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"The vision is (that) it moves from governments to business to people."
"What we are opening here today isn't only a consulate. It's a centre of cooperation. A place that symbolises our ability to think together, to develop together, to change the world together," he said.
On Wednesday, he also visited the gigantic Expo 2020 Dubai, at which Israel will participate along with more than 190 countries.
The six-month global expo, which Dubai hopes will attract visitors and boost the economy, is set to launch in October after a one-year delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"The Israeli pavilion will serve as a platform to establish bilateral cooperation in business, industry, investments, culture and academia," said Israel's point man for the expo, Elazar Cohen, in a statement.
Economic and commercial cooperation
Lapid also met with his Emirati counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, on Tuesday, signing an agreement "for economic and commercial cooperation", according to a UAE foreign ministry statement.
From oil to tourism to cutting-edge technologies, the two countries hope to benefit from an economic dividend following the normalisation agreement.
"Since September 2020, a number of transactions, valued at tens of millions of dollars, have been signed between Israeli and Emirati companies in the fields of artificial intelligence, cyber, renewable energy, water security, health and more," Lapid said.
Still worried' on Iran
But Lapid talked down any imminent breakthrough in that direction.
"It's not easy as it sounds, it going to take time... a lot of difficulties (are) in the way, but Israel's goal is peace in the region and peace with its neighbours," he said.
The new foreign minister's trip also comes as Israeli arch-ally the US and arch-enemy Iran hold indirect talks aiming to revive a 2015 nuclear deal -- efforts the previous Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu had strongly opposed.
"There are three options. The best one is a good agreement... that we prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons," he said.
"Second-best is the sanction, the maximum pressure, and the third is a bad agreement."