By Ahmed Hatem
ABU DHABI, UAE (AA) – Dubai conglomerate Al-Habtoor Group said Sunday it plans to open a representative office in Israel, days after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel signed an agreement to normalize their relations.
"I have been looking forward to this day for a very long time. I have always believed that Emiratis and Israelis have a lot in common,” its founding chairman Khalaf Ahmad al-Habtoor said as he met in Dubai with Shlomi Fogel, chairman of Israeli Ampa Group.
The business of the family-owned Al-Habtoor Group covers hotels, real estates and education.
“Both [Emirati and Israeli] peoples are business-oriented and have relied on human talent and ambition more than their countries’ natural resources to build robust, innovative economies,” he said.
The chairman said that his group was in talks with Israeli carrier, Israir Airlines Ltd, to launch a commercial flight line between the UAE and Israel.
On Sept. 15, the UAE and Bahrain signed US-sponsored agreements to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.
*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara