Netanyahu’s first UAE visit postponed

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Jerusalem/Amman

An announcement by Israel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had postponed a first visit to the United Arab Emirates on Thursday due to a lag in Jordanian overflight rights drew a rare rebuke from Amman over a contested Jerusalem holy site.

An Abu Dhabi appearance would have allowed Netanyahu to put his imprimatur on Israel-UAE ties that were formalised last year – a foreign policy flourish as he seeks re-election on March 23.

The UAE had not formally confirmed the planned visit, which leaked to Israeli media on Wednesday.

According to a statement issued by Netanyahu s office, he and Abu Dhabi s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan agreed to reschedule.

A hold-up in overflight permission from Amman for Netanyahu s plane “apparently” stemmed from the cancellation of a visit by Jordanian Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah to Jerusalem s Al Aqsa mosque compound on Wednesday over a dispute regarding security arrangements at the site, the statement said.—Reuters