UAE suspends visa waiver agreement with Israel
UAE became 1st Arab country whose citizens could enter Israel without visa
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has suspended a visa waiver agreement with Israel in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
A ministry statement said the suspension will continue until July 1.
"The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed that according to the signed visa waiver agreement and in light of the efforts made to limit the spread of coronavirus, the visa waiver agreement will be suspended until July 1,” the statement reads.
"Until the aforementioned date, Israeli citizens will be required to obtain an entry visa before traveling to the United Arab Emirates and UAE citizens will be required to obtain an entry visa in advance before traveling to Israel," the statement added.
Thousands of Israelis have traveled to the UAE in the past few months.
Israel and the UAE have reached an agreement for the mutual exemption of visas for both countries’ citizens within the framework of their agreement to normalize relations.
The UAE was the first Arab country to sign a visa waiver agreement with Israel.
Israel and the UAE signed a US-sponsored deal on Sept. 15 last year to normalize their relations, a move that was followed by Bahrain and Sudan and recently Morocco.
The normalization agreements have drawn widespread condemnation from Palestinians, who say the accords ignore their rights and do not serve the Palestinian cause.
*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara