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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - ‘Humanitarian priority’ underlined despite ‘political challenges in the region’.
A health worker places a swab in a tube after performing a COVID-19 test in Dubai. (AFP)
LONDON - Two private UAE companies and two Israeli companies have announced the launch of joint projects in the medical field and specifically the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, said Emirati news agency WAM.
The news agency put the joint venture agreements within the context of “the circumstances dictated by the coronavirus pandemic in all countries of the world and the endeavour to pursue join efforts in the fields of research, development and technology and consecrating such efforts in the service of humanity.”
“This scientific and medical partnership goes beyond the historical political challenges in the region and comes as part of a humanitarian priority and constructive cooperation aimed at facing the COVID-19 pandemic and working together for the sake of the health of people of the region,” added WAM.
Considering the effects of the pandemic that has spread throughout the world, “it is imperative to put the interest of mankind and humanity and its safeguarding at the top of priorities and work together to rid the world of this unprecedented pandemic,” further said WAM without identifying the four companies involved in the joint projects.
Hend al-Otaiba, director of strategic communications at the UAE’s foreign ministry, said on Twitter that the agreement was “in light of strengthening international cooperation in the fields of research, development & technology in service of humanity.”
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday his country would be cooperating with the UAE to fight the coronavirus pandemic, despite the lack of diplomatic ties.
He said in a statement that “collaboration will be in the areas of research and development and technology, in areas that will improve health security throughout the region.”
Speaking at the American Jewish Committee’s annual conference earlier this month, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash reiterated his country’s opposition to Israeli annexation plans but did not exclude the possibility of cooperation in the fight against COVID-19.
“We have no relationship with Israel, but the pandemic is an area where we have to cooperate together because it affects human beings,” he said.
Also, this month, the UAE’s ambassador to the United States published an op-ed in an Israeli newspaper confirming that ties had improved but warning Israel that proceeding with annexation would “upend” any efforts to normalise relations with Arab states.
“Annexation will certainly and immediately upend Israeli aspirations for improved security, economic and cultural ties with the Arab world and with UAE,” Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba wrote.
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