The Abraham Accords, the collective agreements that normalised relations signed between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco respectively, is historic in nature. Not since Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994 has it been able to achieve stable ties with Arab states in the Middle East. The Accords have created the opportunity for both deep and wide political as well as economic peace within the region and between peoples.
The UK has been a vocal supporter of the agreements since they were signed in 2020. As noted by Foreign Secretary Rt. Hon. Liz Truss, “The UK was one of the first countries to celebrate publicly this historic step towards normalisation in the Middle East led by Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, and mediated by the United States.” We have actively supported all members of the Abraham Accords in strengthening regional stability and prosperity, in the pursuit of a widening circle of peace. The UK will continue to support Israel and its regional partners to achieve this.
The Abraham Accords will continue to bring prosperity to the region. Science, technology, agriculture, energy and healthcare are some of the many sectors that have seen MoU’s and agreements worth tens of billions of dollars. Israel- Bahrain commerce exceeded several million dollars in 2021 following next to no economic activity before the accords. Israel- UAE trade bilateral trade is of particular note -burgeoned by the historic agreement on trade signed between the two countries in April- stands at $1 billion and is projected to reach $2.5 billion by the end of 2022. We have also welcomed direct flights between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco – and the increased people-to-people exchanges.
Both Israel and the UAE are major trading partners of the UK valued at approximately £5 billion and $20 billion annually respectively. The UK hopes to see increased trade links across the region and is keen to see British companies play a part. With direct links between Israel and UAE now open, it will be easier for British companies that are already active in one country, to increase their footprint across the region. The trade team at the Embassy have reached out to British companies active in the UAE and are looking forward to offering the Embassy’s support to these companies to increase their operations also in Israel. UK technology, know-how and innovation complements the economies of both Israel and UAE. With greater openness between the two countries, we are strongly encouraging UK companies to take advantage and further foster economic growth in the region.
We continue to seek ways to expand our relationships with Israel and the UAE. The international flying exercise, Blue Flag, hosted by the Israeli Air Force in November of 2021 has allowed the UK to strengthen our already robust defence relationships with Israel and the UAE; alongside our other international partners. We were delighted to support Maktoub, an exhibition co-sponsored by the British Embassy in Israel, as the first-of-its-kind exhibition at the Jerusalem Theatre; allowing artists from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Morocco and Israel displaying their Hebrew and Arabic calligraphic art fostering people to people engagement through culture and language.
I would like to congratulate the UAE Israel Business Council (UIBC) on the work they have accomplished. I truly believe that people-to-people ties based upon shared opportunities, economic benefits and business partnerships is the key to a warm peace between peoples of the region. Your accomplishments in the pursuit of these objectives should be celebrated. I am confident there are more to come. The UK stands ready to support those efforts. We welcome the UIBC’s efforts in replicating their successes in the UAE-Israel relationship across the other Abraham Accords states.