JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli President Isaac Herzog left for the United Arab Emirates on Sunday in the first such visit, his office said, seeking to strengthen Gulf ties at a time of heightened regional tension as the powers are trying to revive a nuclear deal with Iran.

“I will meet with the leaders of the United Arab Emirates, at the personal invitation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince,” Herzog said.

“I wish him well and am grateful for his courage and bold leadership in reaching a peace agreement with Israel and sending a message to the entire region that peace is the only alternative for the peoples of the region. “

The presidency in Israel is essentially a ceremonial post. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visited the United Arab Emirates in December.

The United Arab Emirates, along with Bahrain, signed US-brokered normalization agreements with Israel, dubbed the “Abraham Accords”, at the White House in 2020. The two Gulf countries and Israel share concerns common regarding Iran and its allied forces in the region.

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On January 18, Israel offered security and intelligence support to the United Arab Emirates against further drone attacks after a deadly strike by the Iran-aligned Houthi group in Yemen, according to a letter released Tuesday by the Israeli leader. .

(Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by William Mallard)

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