Middle East

UAE-Israel phone lines open after accord to normalise relations

DUBAI (Reuters) – Telephone lines between the United Arab Emirates and Israel were open on Sunday in a development the Israeli communications minister hailed as important for normalizing ties between the countries.

Israel and the UAE on Thursday announced an agreement that will lead to a full normalization of diplomatic relations between the two states, between which telephone calls had not been possible previously.

The foreign ministers of both countries held a telephone call with each other to inaugurate the opening of the phone lines, Israeli officials said and UAE foreign ministry spokeswoman Hend al-Otaiba wrote on Twitter.

The UAE’s Telecoms Regulatory Authority did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

Reuters made several calls from the UAE to Israel on Sunday and more Israeli news websites that were previously blocked in the UAE were also able to be viewed on UAE internet connections.

“I congratulate the United Arab Emirates on the unblocking,” Israeli Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel said on Twitter.

“Many economic opportunities will now open up, and these trust-building steps are important for advancing the countries’ interests.”

The UAE’s two main telecoms operators Du (DU.DU) and Etisalat (ETISALAT.AD) did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Reporting by Lisa Barrington in Dubai and Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Editing by Susan Fenton and David Goodman

Image: FILE PHOTO: A man takes a picture as the municipality building is lit in the United Arab Emirates national flag following the announcement of a deal to normalize relations between the Jewish state and the United Arab Emirates, in Tel Aviv, Israel August 13, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

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