‘The Difference Is We’re Excited,’ Says UAE Economy Minister When Asked About Past Arab Peace Deals With Israel
The minister of economy of the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday declared that the difference between his country’s peace accord with Israel and previous deals between the Jewish state and Arab nations was the level of enthusiasm and hope involved on both sides.
“What makes this different is that we are very, very excited,” Minister Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri said on a conference call hosted by the Atlantic Council think tank.
“Both nations come in with an attitude of excitement and curiosity,” Al Marri explained. “With that kind of mindset in place, thinking how we can change for the better, how can we build on our strengths — that’s how we see it.”
Describing Israel and the UAE as “economic powerhouses,” Al Marri heralded a new era of economic cooperation.
“We have so many similarities in what we do, it’s just a matter of putting our hearts and minds to the task,” he said.
Al Marri argued that Israel and the UAE were in an excellent position to lead the economic diversification of the Middle East, weaning the region away from its traditional dependence on oil.
Within the framework of what he called the “fourth industrial revolution,” Al Marri envisaged close cooperation with Israelis on cutting-edge technologies such as solar power, development of the blockchain electronic ledger and the broader agricultural technology sector.
Asked how the UAE’s government would encourage private sector engagement with Israel, Al Marri answered that such encouragement was not necessary.
“I think the private sector already did deals, we’re the ones catching up,” he said, explaining that he had held calls with several UAE chambers of commerce where he “discovered they are already planning for business with Israel.”
Al Marri urged Palestinians to seize the economic benefits of the deal, saying that plans were being made to involve Palestinian businesses in UAE-Israel joint projects.
“This agreement will bring benefits for the Palestinians,” Al Marri said. “When your economy is strong, everyone will benefit.”