Israel-based i24News channel to open Dubai office; Israeli FM to make first UAE visit


Israel-based i24News television network has announced plans to open an office in Dubai, the first to do so since the normalisation of ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates last year.

‘In the last year, we have witnessed regional diplomatic changes that enable business ties and opportunities for partnerships,’ Frank Melloul, chief executive of i24News, said on Monday.

‘The establishment of our office in Dubai Media City gives us a strategic platform to expand our coverage of the Middle East right from the heart of the region’s media industry hub,’ he said.

The news channel also announced a series of agreements with the UAE, including content exchanges with the publisher of English-language daily Gulf News, and advertisements from UAE’s tourism ministry.

Mona Al Marri, director-general of the Government of Dubai Media Office, welcomed ‘the establishment of cooperation between the media sectors of UAE and Israel’.

Majed Al Suwaidi, the director of Dubai Media City, said that adding i24News to the centre ‘adds to the rich global diversity of media’.

Two main Emirati telecom operators, Etisalat and DU, will carry content from i24News, which broadcasts in Arabic, English and French.

In December, the channel based in Israel’s coastal city of Tel Aviv signed a deal with Abu Dhabi Media for shared reporting and archival content.

Israel’s newly appointed foreign minister Yair Lapid will head to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next week for the first-ever visit by a top Israeli diplomat to the Gulf emirate, which comes after the normalisation of ties between the two countries last year.

The Israeli foreign ministry said on Monday that Lapid will visit the UAE from June 29 to 30, and will inaugurate an Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi and a consulate in Dubai.

The UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan established diplomatic relations with Israel under the Abraham Accords brokered by former US President Donald Trump.

The Palestinians have condemned the normalisations, saying they were grave betrayals by the Arab states and undermined efforts towards Palestinian self-determination.

Since the deal was signed last September, the UAE, an oil-rich country with considerable regional influence, has signed a plethora of business deals with Israel.

The two states had already agreed to waive visa requirements for each other’s citizens and signed a number of bilateral agreements on investment, tourism, direct flights, security, and telecommunications.

The new governments in both Israel and the United States have said they hope to reach similar accords with other Arab states.

Prior to the Abraham Accords, Egypt and Jordan were the only Arab countries to have diplomatic ties with Israel.—Agencies


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