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Pompeo says Israel-UAE agreement is enormous step forward

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks on after signing an agreement on the fifth-generation of internet technology in Bled, Slovenia, during his four-nation visit to Central Europe, August 13, 2020. Jure Makovec/Pool via REUTERS

VIENNA (Reuters) - An agreement on normalising relations reached between Israel and the United Arab Emirates on Thursday is an “enormous” step forward on the “right path”, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters with him on a trip to central European countries.

“This is an enormous, historic step forward,” Pompeo said shortly before taking off from Slovenia for Austria’s capital Vienna, adding that it was a historic opportunity for the Middle East to be stable and peaceful. “Peace is the right path forward.”

The agreement, which U.S. President Donald Trump helped broker, will lead to the full normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two Middle Eastern nations. It was sealed in a phone call between Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi.

Pompeo is on a week-long tour through central Europe. He has scheduled meetings with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias on Friday.

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Hugh Lawson