US President Donald Trump’s national security advisor said on Friday that he will be on the first commercial flight to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from Israel.
Robert O’Brien confirmed his plan in a virtual address to the Atlantic Council think tank, ending speculation sparked by reports earlier this week that he and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner would be on the historic flight.
O’Brien said he will be departing for Israel on Saturday.
An Israeli delegation is also expected to be on the flight, which is scheduled to depart from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport for Abu Dhabi on Monday.
The flight will likely be operated by Israel’s national flag carrier El Al, said O’Brien.
“What a great thing to have the UAE, which is a finance center in the Middle East and a great partner of the United States, and the start-up nation, the center of innovation in the Middle East, Israel, our great democratic ally, come together,” he said.
The flight will be the first between the nations since the US brokered the opening of bilateral diplomatic relations.
The deal, however, has already hit turbulence over the UAE’s desire to purchase F-35 jets, which Israel has vocally opposed on national security grounds.
Shortly after announcing the normalization agreement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the agreement includes direct flights from Tel Aviv to UAE airports, passing through Saudi airspace.
Saudi Arabia has not issued any confirmation or denial about allowing Israeli airplanes to cross its airspace, with Riyadh also refraining from issuing any public criticism of the agreement.
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