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NEW DELHI: India on Friday welcomed the announcement by Israel and the United Arab Emirates a day earlier to normalise diplomatic ties and forge a broad new relationship.

Indian foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said that India “has consistently supported peace, stability and development in West Asia which is its extended neighbourbood."

“In that context we welcome the full normalization of ties between the UAE and Israel. Both nations are strategic partners of India," he said.

India’s statement came on a day the UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, called Indian counterpart S Jaishankar and discussed the pact.

“ Deeply appreciate the call today from FM HH @ABZayed of UAE. Discussed the full normalisation of relations between UAE and Israel announced yesterday(Thursday)," Jaishankar said in a Twitter post.

The deal is seen as brought together by US President Donald Trump and under its terms, Israel has agreed to suspend its planned annexation of areas of the occupied West Bank.

The development recasts the political order in the Middle East from the Palestinian issue to the fight against Iran, according to analysts and news reports. It represents a coalescing of forces opposed to Iran in the region. Iran and Israel are arch foes with Israel particularly concerned about suspected Iranian efforts to develop nuclear weapons, which Tehran denies, a Reuters report said. Iran is also suspected to be involved in proxy wars from Syria to Yemen, where the UAE has been a leading member of the Saudi-led coalition opposing Iran-aligned forces there.

After the announcement, the UAE said it would remain a strong supporter of the Palestinian people, who want an independent state in the occupied West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. It also said that the Israeli-UAE agreement maintained the viability of a two-state solution to the longstanding Israel-Palestinian conflict, the Reuters report said. But the Palestinians have rejected the agreement describing it as “betrayal" and “a sellout," news reports said.

In New Delhi, Srivastava reiterated India’s support to the Palestinian cause saying: “India will continue its traditional support to the Palestinian cause. We hope to see the early resumption of direct negotiations to find an acceptable two state solution."

Israel had signed peace agreements with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. But the UAE, along with most other Arab nations, did not recognise Israel and had no formal diplomatic or economic relations with it until now. It becomes the first Gulf Arab country to reach such a deal with the Jewish state, the Reuters report said.

The Israel-UAE accord will allow the two countries “to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential in the region," a joint statement said.

Israel and the UAE are expected soon to exchange ambassadors and embassies. A signing ceremony is due to be held at the White House.

Delegations from Israel and the United Arab Emirates will meet in the coming weeks to sign agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications and other issues, the joint statement said.

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