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Israel's PM meets crown prince on historic UAE visit

 Israel's PM meets crown prince on historic UAE visit

ABU DHABI: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met Abu Dhabi's crown prince Monday during the first visit by a leader of the Jewish state to the United Arab Emirates, over a year after the two countries established ties.

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Bennett's visit comes as Israel pursues a diplomatic push against international nuclear talks in Vienna that could ease sanctions on its arch-foe, Iran.

He was received by Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at his private palace, where they exchanged greetings before heading inside for talks.

The visit comes 15 months after the wealthy UAE broke with decades of Arab consensus and forged diplomatic ties under a series of US-brokered deals known as the Abraham Accords.

Bennett, who arrived late on Sunday and was expected to focus on trade links, according to his spokesperson, said his visit reflected a "new reality" for the Middle East.

"In my opinion, this is... the new reality this region is witnessing, and we are working together to ensure a better future for our children," he told the UAE's official WAM news agency.

Israel is also stepping up its diplomatic efforts against the renewed talks in Vienna with Iran, over the Islamic republic's nuclear programme.

Bennett has called for the talks to be halted, accusing Tehran of "nuclear blackmail" and charging that it will use any revenue from sanctions relief to bolster a military arsenal that can harm Israel.

On Thursday, global powers began meetings with Iran in Vienna aimed at reviving a deal to curb the nuclear programme after former US president Donald Trump pulled out in 2015.

Ahead of the talks, the UAE's national security adviser met Iran's ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran, a rare trip by a senior Emirati official.

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