Israeli PM Naftali Bennett in snap UAE visit

Tel Aviv: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was on a surprise visit to the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, a snap trip that came as efforts to salvage a deal over Iran's nuclear programme were stalled amid a deepening standoff with Tehran.

The visit was Bennett's second public trip to Abu Dhabi since Israel and the UAE agreed to normalize ties in 2020 after years of quiet cooperation, mainly over their shared concerns over Iran's nuclear capabilities.

A statement from Bennett's office said the Israeli leader will meet Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed and that the two will discuss various regional issues, with Iran likely to top the agenda.

In a video statement recorded before departing, Bennett commended countries at an International Atomic Energy Agency meeting in Vienna on Wednesday who voted to censure Iran over its transparency about nuclear activities at three undeclared sites in the country.

We see here a firm stance by the countries of the world regarding the distinction between good and evil, as they clearly state that Iran is concealing things. We will not let up on this issue, he said before boarding a plane to the UAE.

The IAEA said Thursday Iran plans to ramp up its uranium enrichment, with the installation of advanced centrifuges.

Israel considers Iran to be its greatest enemy and it strongly opposed the 2015 deal.

It says it wants an improved deal that places tighter restrictions on Iran's nuclear programme and addresses Iran's long-range missile programme and its support for hostile proxies along Israel's borders. Israel also says the negotiations must be accompanied by a credible military threat to ensure that Iran does not delay


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