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UAE making mistake by moving closer to Israel: Iranian President

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a joint news conference following a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (File photo)

TEHRAN:- The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is making a mistake by moving closer to Israel, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday, referring to the recent announcement of normalization of ties between the two countries.

“Unfortunately, one of our neighbors has moved closer to the enemy of the Islamic world, the region, the killer of the Palestinians. It has decided to establish relations with the Zionist regime. This is an Islamic country where pious Muslims live, but their rulers have made a mistake,” Rouhani said in a televised statement, reported Sputnik. The Iranian president expressed hope that the UAE will turn off the chosen path and called the peace deal between the two countries a “betrayal of the Palestinian cause.”

On Thursday, Israel and the UAE agreed to normalize their relations, and an agreement on the mutual establishment of embassies is expected to follow in the coming three weeks. In exchange, Israel said it would halt its plans to formally annex parts of the West Bank. A joint statement of the US, UAE, and Israel said, “President Donald J Trump, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates spoke today (Thursday) and agreed to the full normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE.”

As per the joint statement, delegations from Israel and the UAE will meet in the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, healthcare, culture, the environment, the establishment of reciprocal embassies and other areas of mutual benefit.

“Opening direct ties between two of the Middle East’s most dynamic societies and advanced economies will transform the region by spurring economic growth, enhancing technological innovation and forging closer people-to-people relations,” the statement read.

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