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UAE tries to win Indonesia's tacit approval of new Israeli ties

Observers doubt sweetener will loosen Jakarta's links with Palestine, Iran

Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Indonesian President Joko Widodo walk as they inspect honor guards during a meeting at the presidential palace in Bogor, Indonesia on July 24, 2019.    © Reuters

JAKARTA/DUBAI -- The United Arab Emirates last week marked two events that reflect its new international pivot -- a historic visit by senior officials to Israel, and the renaming of a prominent street in Abu Dhabi after Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Emirati economy and finance ministers, among others, who were part of the first Gulf Arab delegation ever to visit Tel Aviv. The two countries signed four agreements -- one on visa exemption, making the UAE the first Arab nation to lift visa restrictions on Israeli nationals, as well as on aviation, investment, science and innovation.

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