Senior Arab official and Israeli foreign minister discuss Iran at Gulf meeting

The Israeli Foreign Ministry’s chief diplomat, Yisrael Katz, attended an international climate summit in Abu Dhabi.

By Associated Press

Israel confirmed Monday that Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and met with a senior UAE official and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of a recent climate conference.

Israel and the UAE do not have formal diplomatic relations, but the two have developed increasingly close ties in the past several years. Both nations are staring down the threat posed by Iran, which arms and funds terror proxies throughout the region, including Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the Houthis in Yemen.

Katz says in a statement he was representing “the interests of the state of Israel before the Gulf Arab states.”

Katz’s office added that the foreign minister discussed the “Iranian threat” with an official from the UAE, Times of Israel reported.

Visits by senior Israeli officials to Gulf states are growing in frequency, with reports surfacing last year indicating that the Jewish state has opened behind-the-scenes lines of communication with UAE.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Oman last year.

Katz’s visit to the UAE arrives less than a week after U.S.-led Mideast peace conference in Bahrain, at which stakeholders in the region discussed the Trump administration’s vision for improving the Palestinians’ economic prospects via a $50 billion dollar development and growth plan.