Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi made a phone call with his Emirati counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan on Sunday, their first in the wake of a controversial deal to establish diplomatic ties between the two countries. 

According to the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation, the two top diplomats underlined the importance of abiding by the normalization agreement.

No further details, however, were given about their conversation.

Following Sunday’s call, both countries can exchange landline calls.

Meanwhile, Israeli Communications Minister Yoaz Handel congratulated the UAE for removing blocks to Israeli websites.

“Many economic opportunities will open now, and these trust-building steps are important towards advancement of interests of [both] states,” Handel said.

Ofir Akunis, Israel’s Regional Cooperation Minister, said the agreement with UAE “will boost the Israeli economy and will lead to many significant development opportunities in the fields of solar energy, technology, advanced agriculture and in other fields.”

On Thursday, US President Donald Trump announced a deal between the UAE and Israel to normalize their relations.

The development marks only the third time an Arab nation has opened full diplomatic ties with Israel, and the Emirates is now the first Gulf Arab state to do so. Other Arab nations with diplomatic ties with Israel are Egypt and Jordan.

The signing ceremony for the normalization deal is expected to take place in the White House in September.

Palestinian groups have denounced the new agreement, saying it does nothing to serve the Palestinian cause and ignores the rights of the Palestinian people. The UAE’s peace deal with Israel is a “treacherous stab in the back of the Palestinian people,” Hamas said in a statement.

* Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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