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August 15, 2019 11:40 am

Report: Israel and United Arab Emirates in Washington-Brokered Talks on Countering Iran

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

A general view of ADNOC headquarters in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates May 29, 2019. Photo: Reuters/Christopher Pike/File Photo.

Israel and the United Arab Emirates are engaged in secret direct talks on how best to confront Iran, according to a leading US newspaper.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that the meetings were facilitated by the United States, specifically Brian Hook, the State Department’s point man on the Iran issue.

According to the Journal, two such meetings have been held, one last spring and one at a more recent time. The talks were not an “open secret,” as only a few US officials were aware of their existence.

The report states that the talks were not of a preliminary nature, but have included detailed strategic discussions on how to confront Iran, particularly its nuclear program and its expansionist activities in countries like Syria and Iraq.

The contacts between Israel and the UAE apparently began in February at a security conference in Warsaw that included Israel and several Arab countries, including the UAE.

A source named only as a “former US official” is cited as saying Hook is endeavoring to create an unofficial anti-Iran coalition including countries in both Europe and the Middle East, and wants both Israel and the UAE to assist him in doing so.

The secret meetings would not be the first time contacts have been held between Israel and the UAE. Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz publicly visited the UAE in July of this year for a UN conference.

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