The United Arab Emirates’ first ambassador to Israel arrived in Jerusalem this week to begin work in his new role.
Ambassador Mohamed Al Khaja met with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and later the president of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, when he arrived.
He said on Twitter that he and the foreign minister talked about “bilateral relations that are growing” and the “expansion of cooperation in many fields.”
About his meeting with the president, Al Khaja tweeted, “Today, I had the honor of presenting my credentials to HE Reuven Rivlin, President of Israel, as the first UAE Ambassador to the State of Israel. I look forward to representing my beloved country and working to strengthen cooperation and relations between our two countries.”
Rivlin welcomed the new ambassador in a ceremony Monday. As the ambassador entered the presidential compound, the IDF band played the UAE’s national anthem.
“We waited patiently for relations to grow step by step, and now we are privileged to see this wonderful day at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel,” he said.
“There are so many things we can do together,” he added.
"I look forward to seeing you succeed in building the bridge of peace between both countries and our peoples. Welcome!"
Khaja told reporters that his arrival as the new ambassador from the United Arab Emirates marked “another historic day in the Middle East and a great step toward strengthening peace between our countries and nations.”
“We have a historic opportunity to present a model of warm, comprehensive peace,” he added.
Al Khaja is also tasked with finding a location for the Emirati embassy in Tel Aviv. He is expected to move to Israel full-time by the end of the month.
Al Khaja, 40, was born in Abu Dhabi and has a degree in political science from Northeastern University in Boston and an MBA in energy management from Vienna University of Economics and Business.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Handout
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.