Hungary says it will be only EU country to send minister to Israel-UAE accord signing

File photo Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat elbow bumps with an Emirati official as he makes his way to board the plane to leave Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 1 September 2020. A US-Israeli delegation led on the US side by the US President's son-in-law and White House advisor Kushner came to visit the United Arab Emirates for talks on the first-ever commercial flight from Israel to UAE the previous day. [Pool/EPA/EFE]

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó will be the only EU diplomatic leader to attend the signing ceremony on Tuesday in Washington for the Israel-United Arab Emirates peace deal, his spokesman said on Sunday (13 September).

“At the invitation of US President Donald Trump, as the only European Union minister, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó will also attend … the signing ceremony in the White House on Tuesday,” Mate Paczolay told Hungarian news agency MTI.

Under the accord, which Trump helped broker, Israel agreed to suspend its planned annexation of areas of the occupied West Bank. The agreement also firms up opposition to regional power Iran, which the UAE, Israel and the United States view as the main threat in the conflict-riven Middle East.

Trump, who is heading into the homestretch of his presidential re-election campaign, announced the accord last month. On Friday, he said Bahrain would join the agreement.

Major European powers like France and the UK welcomed the Israel-UAE deal, as did the European Union executive, which said it was good for regional stability.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, whose anti-immigrant rhetoric and erosion of democratic standards in the media, judiciary and academia have often sparked criticism in the EU, was an early and avid supporter of Trump.

“Since the White House prepared the agenda for stabilising the region, this has been the second development to prove that this is the best peace plan thus far and promises to bring peace in the Middle East at last,” Szijjártó wrote on Facebook on Saturday.

“The US President thus deserves gratitude,” he said, adding praise for Israeli, UAE and Bahraini leaders.

Szijjártó will also hold talks with Trump’s son-in-law and chief adviser, Jared Kushner, the minister’s spokesman said.

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