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German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (L) with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi in June. Photo: Menahem Kahana. Photo: AFP via Getty

The foreign ministers of Israel and the UAE will hold meetings in Berlin on Tuesday, two weeks after they signed a normalization agreement at the White House.

Why it matters: This will be the first-ever publicly announced meeting between the Israeli and Emirati foreign ministers after many secret meetings in the past. They'll continue work on a series of bilateral agreements.

The backstory: The Berlin meeting is the initiative of German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. It comes after Israel-UAE meetings that were to be held in Israel last week took place instead over Zoom due to Israel's coronavirus lockdown.

  • This is an opportunity for the Germans to get involved in the normalization process, something they'd been interested in doing, Israeli officials say.

What to expect: In addition to the bilateral talks, there will be a trilateral meeting with Maas over dinner.

  • Maas and his Israeli and Emirati counterparts will also visit the Holocaust Museum in Berlin and lay a wreath at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.

What they're saying: “The courageous peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is the first good news in the Middle East for a long time — and at the same time an opportunity for new movement in the dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians," Maas said in a statement.

Go deeper

Jan 7, 2021 - World

Scoop: Netanyahu demands full control over Israel's Iran policy, sparking pushback

Netanyahu (R) and Biden in 2010. Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO via Getty

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is demanding full control of Israel's Iran policy as Joe Biden prepares to assume the Oval Office, setting off a fierce fight at the highest echelons of Israel's government, senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is preparing to take a very hard line over Biden's plan to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, in contrast with the more moderate approach favored by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and the heads of Israel's security services.

Jan 6, 2021 - World

Netanyahu aides fret that "Obama people" will shape Biden's Iran policy

Some members of Netanyahu's inner circle aren't happy to see Susan Rice and John Kerry back in the White House.

Members of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's inner circle are concerned that President-elect Joe Biden is filling his administration with veterans of the Obama administration, some of whom they've had difficult relations in the past, particularly over Iran.

Why it matters: The Biden and Netanyahu administrations are on course for an early clash over the Iran nuclear deal. Several of Netanyahu’s aides at the Israeli National Security Council have been grumbling about the fact that Biden will be surrounded by "Obama people" — including the deal's architects and some of its fiercest advocates.

32 mins ago - World

Pope Francis denounces European governments' migrant response

Pope Francis adresses refugees at the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos on Sunday. Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis criticized European countries' response to migrants and asylum seekers during his visit to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos Sunday.

Why it matters: The pope said "migration is a humanitarian crisis that concerns everyone," but little had changed in the global response to displaced peoples since his first visit to Lesbos five years ago, per a transcript of his remarks. "Human lives, real people, are at stake. ... let us stop this shipwreck of civilization!"