Israeli minister visits Abu Dhabi, a first for UAE
Israel's infrastructure minister Uzi Landau visited the United Arab Emirates at the weekend for a renewable energy conference, amid tight security, in the first visit by an Israeli minister to the Gulf state, Reuters reported.
Landau was in the country for a conference of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), based in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi. Israel's arch-foe Iran also attended the meeting, as did other Arab states with no ties with Israel.
"It is the first time that an Israeli minister visited the UAE. I have to say the reception was nice and in line with all the rules that the people in Abu Dhabi promised to grant to countries that do not have (permanent) delegations in their country," Landau told Israel Radio.
According to his office, Landau arrived on Friday and left on Sunday. He did not take part in conference on Saturday.
Like most Arab countries, the UAE has no diplomatic ties with the Jewish state and Israelis are routinely denied entry.
Iran, a member of IRENA, was represented by a delegation led by its deputy minister for electricity and power affairs, Abbas Aliabadi.
IRENA's interim director-general Helene Pellosse said that although Israel and the UAE have no diplomatic ties, Israel was accommodated in accordance with specific agreements.
Three countries -- South Africa, Kyrgistan and St.Vincent & Grenada -- joined as new members on Sunday, she said, adding that Saudi Arabia has agreed in principle to join and is likely to sign up shortly.