GENUINE warmth, mutual respect and friendship were the hallmarks of a historic Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) webinar last week featuring the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) ambassador to Australia.
After receiving a warm welcome from AIJAC’s executive director Dr Colin Rubenstein – who said “I already feel that he is a mate” ambassador Abdulla Al Subousi shed light on the significance of the recently signed Abraham Accords that normalised relations between Israel and both the UAE and Bahrain.
He said the Accords were “not directed against Iran”, but rather represent “opportunities to seize upon the region’s potential … [as] our ambition is for a more peaceful, tolerant and prosperous Middle East”.
Recalling how a joke years ago among friends about the prospect for Middle East peace was, “It will take an alien invasion to bring everybody together,” Al Subousi remarked, “Sometimes the impossible becomes actual, under the right leadership.
“It’s time for new approaches and thinking to set a better path for the region. We [also] believe that aligning more closely and openly with Israel and the US allows us greater stability to contribute to regional solutions.
“[The UAE and Israel] look forward to strengthening joint cooperation in various sectors … and I’m already astonished by how fast we’re moving forward – the possibilities are limitless.”
He added a project close to his heart – the Abrahamic House featuring an interconnected mosque, synagogue and church – is due for completion in Abu Dhabi in 2022.
On the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, Al Subousi said, “We [the UAE] wish to see a two-state solution … and a substantial reduction in the long-term cycle of conflict and suffering. The region’s powers have the means to make this happen, and we think the Abraham Accord is a major step towards [that].”
#UAE Ambassador to #Australia Abdulla Al Soubousi told AIJAC Live Online that #Turkey’s criticism of the UAE-Israel Accord is “unfounded”, given that Turkey has an embassy in #Israel & engages in significant business & tourism cooperation with Israel. pic.twitter.com/WEC9cKK7pj
— AIJAC (@AIJAC_Update) October 14, 2020
He also briefly spoke about the current stance of two other key actors in the Middle East.
“Turkey continues to play a destructive role in the region, particularly in its attempts to undermine the security and stability of Libya,” Al Subousi said, adding Turkey’s recent criticism of the Abraham Accords – given it has an embassy in Israel and benefits from Turkish–Israeli trade, “is unfounded … and misplaced, to say the least”.
“And the UAE remains deeply concerned with Iran’s continued non-compliance with the limits established by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
“The potential pursuit of nuclear weapons [by Iran] is unacceptable and remains a red line in our region.”