UAE, Israeli companies sign 'strategic commercial agreement' on coronavirus research

The Emirati APEX National Investment company signed a “strategic commercial agreement” with Israel’s Tera Group to cooperate on research and development related to Covid-19, including a testing device, the UAE’s state news agency WAM said late on Saturday.

The deal “is considered the first business [deal] to inaugurate trade, economy and effective partnerships between the Emirati and Israeli business sectors, for the benefit of serving humanity by strengthening research and studies on the novel coronavirus”, WAM quoted APEX’s chairman Khalifa Yousef Khoury as saying.

The agreement was signed at a press conference in Abu Dhabi, coming soon after Israel and the UAE announced an agreement on Thursday that will lead to a full normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two states.

Israel-UAE deal could open up US weapons sales to Gulf kingdom

Normalised diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates could pave the way for more US weapons sales to the Gulf Arab country, according to experts.

In a National Public Radio interview on Friday, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that “the more the Emirates become a friend of Israel, become a partner of Israel, become a regional ally of the United States, I think obviously that alters the threat assessment and could work out to the Emirates’ benefit” on future weapons sales.

David Makovsky, director of the Project on Arab-Israel Relations at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy think tank, told Reuters the deal is “a win for the Emirates, which will undoubtedly be eligible for military sales that it could not obtain due to ‘qualitative military edge’ restrictions due to fear certain technologies could be used against Israel”.

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