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Page last updated at 11:35 GMT, Thursday, 15 October 2009 12:35 UK

Israelis mark Emirates flag debut

Israeli infrastructure ministry official Avraham Arbiv and foreign ministry's director of human rights and international organizations Simona Halperin in Abu Dhabi
Mr Arbiv and Ms Halperin marked a first for Israel on Monday

As analysts warn of growing diplomatic isolation, Israel has marked a small achievement this week, its flag's debut appearance in an Arab state.

Israeli delegates attended a meeting on renewable energy in Abu Dhabi with the flag on their table and lapel badges.

Though Israel has no ties with the UAE, delegates were treated "as equals ... and the Israeli flag flew for the first time", its foreign ministry said.

Israel is facing widespread criticism over its treatment of Palestinians.

The meeting of the International Renewable Energy Agency Administrative Council opened on Monday in the Emirates capital, which is serving as an interim headquarters.

At the meeting were the foreign ministry's director of human rights and international organisations Simona Halperin and infrastructure ministry official Avraham Arbiv.

Tensions between Israel and Gulf states, two of which - Oman and Qatar - have hosted Israeli trade offices at certain times, reached a peak during the conflict in Gaza nine months ago.

Ordinary Israeli citizens are not officially allowed into the Emirates, unless they have dual nationality or under exceptional circumstances.

The permanent home for the agency, known as Irena, is scheduled to be Masdar, a carbon-neutral city under construction in the United Arab Emirates.



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