UAE president meets Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh
UAE president meets Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh Mohammed Al-Ostaz/Flash 90

The United Arab Emirates' Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stressed that the opening of a new Israeli diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi does not represent a change in policy regarding UAE-Israeli relations, Haaretz reported on Saturday night.

Maryam Al Falasi, director of communications in the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, clarified in a statement quoted by the newspaper that the new mission would be accredited to the UN's International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and its activities will be solely limited to issues relating to contacts with the UN agency.

"The functions of missions accredited to IRENA, are limited to affairs related to their communications and dealings with the Agency. They do not, under any circumstances, cover any other activities and do not involve any obligation upon the host country with regards to its diplomatic relations or any other relations," she clarified, according to Haaretz.

Jerusalem sees the opening of the mission in Abu Dhabi move as a significant breakthrough in relations between Israel and its Gulf neighbors, a bond which has reportedly developed quietly over the past two years as both shared reservations about the nuclear deal between Iran and fear Tehran's designs in the region.

A senior official in Jerusalem quoted by Haaretz said that Israel will be the only country with a diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi that is accredited solely to IRENA. Israel decided on this course, he said, because it allowed for an official, open presence in the UAE for the first time ever.

The official also said that diplomat Rami Hatan has been appointed to head the Israeli legation, and will depart for Abu Dhabi in the near future. The official added that office space for the new mission has already been found and that it is undergoing final preparations before the formal opening.

Despite the growing ties animosity towards Israel remains visible in the UAE, as seen several weeks ago when Israeli judokas were forced to compete in Abu Dhabi without any Israeli flags or identification of where they hail from.