Gantz holds Israel’s first defense call of its kind with UAE

Defense ministers from Israel and the United Arab Emirates conducted their first on-the-record teleconference on Tuesday to discuss security cooperation, among other matters.

By Ebin Sandler, World Israel News

On Tuesday, Israel’s Benny Gantz and the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Mohammed al-Bawardi spoke during the first publicly recognized phone call between the two nations since their historic announcement regarding official diplomatic relations.

Following the discussion, Gantz tweeted, “We discussed security cooperation between our nations, which will strengthen the region’s stability.”

Gantz also alluded to “common security interests,” which include countering the threat posed by Iran, a nation that controls terror proxies throughout the region and has recently engaged in maritime saber-rattling in the Persian Gulf.

In the run up to the call between Gantz and al-Bawardi, Israel and the UAE communicated conflicting positions on whether the U.S. would provide the latter with F-35 stealth fighter jets, among other advanced defense assets.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu adamantly denied agreeing to such an arrangement, which would impinge upon Israel’s military superiority in the region.

The UAE for its part insisted negotiations for F-35s were in the offing.

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a visit to Jerusalem, “The United States has a legal requirement with respect to [Israel’s] qualitative military edge, and we will continue to honor that.”

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Pompeo made the comments during a statement to the media, standing alongside Netanyahu in Israel’s capital.

“We have a 20-plus-year security relationship with the United Arab Emirates as well, where we have provided them with technical assistance and military assistance. We will continue to review that process,” he added.

In the past, reports indicated that Israel furnished UAE with cyber defense and surveillance technology n the past.