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UAE rules out role in administration of Gaza after conflict

Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed says his country won't provide 'cover' for Israel in Gaza
United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan at a meeting with the Hungarian foreign and trade minister in Budapest on 2 April 2024 (Attila KISBENEDEK / AFP)

The United Arab Emirates has ruled out taking part in the administration of the Gaza Strip after the end of the current war, saying it would not provide "cover" for Israel's actions in the enclave.

In a statement on social media, UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed denounced comments made earlier this week by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that suggested the Gulf state would be involved in overseeing the running of the Gaza Strip after the end of Israel's assault.

"The UAE stresses that the Israeli Prime Minister does not have any legal capacity to take this step, and the state refuses to be drawn into any plan aimed at providing cover for the Israeli presence in the Gaza Strip," he wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

"The UAE affirms that when a Palestinian government is formed that meets the hopes and aspirations of the brotherly Palestinian people and enjoys integrity, competence and independence, the state will be fully prepared to provide all forms of support to that government."

The foreign minister is among those expected at a summit in the Saudi capital Riyadh this weekend to discuss the war in Gaza.

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The World Economic Forum opens in the kingdom on Sunday and will also feature the Jordanian, Egyptian and Turkish foreign ministers.

The UAE was one of a number of Arab countries that agreed in 2020 to recognise Israel, but the conflict in Gaza has put a strain on the newly established relationships.

Saudi Arabia's own plans for recognising Israel have been sunk since the conflict began, with the kingdom reiterating its opposition to recognition without the establishment of a Palestinian state.

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