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UAE-Israel phone lines open after accord to normalise relations

Protests Against Uae's Deal With Israel To Normalise Relations
Palestinian sit as cutouts depicting U.S. President Donald Trump and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are seen on the ground during a protest against the United Arab Emirates' deal with Israel to normalise relations, in Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank August 14, 2020. REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta

Telephone lines between the United Arab Emirates and Israel were open on Sunday in a development the Israeli communications minister hailed as important for normalising ties between the countries.

Israel and the UAE on Thursday announced an agreement that will lead to a full normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two states, between which telephone calls had not been possible previously.

The foreign ministers of both countries held a telephone call with each other to inaugurate the opening of the phone lines, Israeli officials said and UAE foreign ministry spokeswoman Hend al-Otaiba wrote on Twitter.

The UAE’s Telecoms Regulatory Authority did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

Reuters made several calls from the UAE to Israel on Sunday and more Israeli news websites that were previously blocked in the UAE were also able to be viewed on UAE internet connections.

“I congratulate the United Arab Emirates on the unblocking,” Israeli Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel said on Twitter.

“Many economic opportunities will now open up, and these trust-building steps are important for advancing the countries’ interests.”

The UAE’s two main telecoms operators Du and Etisalat did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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