Israeli flag
Israeli flagIsrael news photo: file

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) raised an Israeli flag for the first time this week in recognition of an Israeli delegation attending an international energy convention, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

Israeli representatives Simona Halperin, of the Foreign Ministry, and Dr. Avraham Arbiv from the Ministry of National Infrastructures, sat under the flag while participating in the committee meeting of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Abu Dhabi on Monday. 

"Despite the fact that Israel does not have diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates, the Israeli representatives were received as equal members, and the Israeli flag flew for the first time in that country," said the ministry in a statement.

Israel previously maintained trade offices in the Gulf Arab states of Oman and Qatar before they were shut down. Oman closed Israel's office in October 2000 following the outbreak of the second intifada and Qatar shut down Israel's office in January in protest over the Operation Cast Lead anti-terror operation in Gaza.

In his opening speech addressing the 150 representatives to the conference from 70 countries, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash stressed his country's commitment to fulfilling IRENA's goals and collaboration with all member countries. He added that the gathering symbolized the determined global effort to prepare for the post-oil era and the UAE's willingness to lead the move to diversify energy sources.