Israel will open a diplomatic mission to an intergovernmental organization in Abu Dhabi, officials announced Friday, in what will be the first open, official Israeli presence in the United Arab Emirates.
The Israeli mission to the International Renewable Energy Agency, or IRENA, is in the final stages of preparation. The purpose of the office is to work with IRENA to develop new sources of renewable energy.
Israeli officials stressed the diplomatic post will be accredited solely to IRENA, and will not serve as a go-between for Israel and the UAE, which do not have official diplomatic relations. Israel has not established formal diplomatic ties with any of its neighbors except Egypt and Jordan, though its diplomats have increasingly met behind the scenes and worked with Arab leaders in recent years. The office would serve as Israel's first official representation in the country.
It would also be its only diplomatic mission on the Arab Peninsula. Israel has scant diplomatic representation in the Arab world, maintaining embassies in only two countries in the region: Egypt and Jordan.
The UAE, like other Arab nations, remains critical of Israel's occupation of land claimed by Palestinians. RENA confirmed that Israel has the right to send a permanent mission to the city, and that the UAE government has the responsibility to facilitate the move.
Israel and some Arab nations have recently found more common interests on the international stage, especially after world powers reached a nuclear deal with Iran, which is considered a foe of many Arab states.