United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday he hoped the Israel-UAE deal can help realize a two-state solution with the Palestinians for peace in the Middle East.
Israel and the UAE agreed to normalize ties in a landmark deal, only the third such accord the Jewish state has struck with an Arab nation, in which it pledged to suspend annexation of Palestinian lands.
Guterres said annexation would "effectively close the door" on negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders and "destroy the prospect" of a viable Palestinian state under a two-state solution.
"The secretary-general welcomes this agreement, hoping it will create an opportunity for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to re-engage in meaningful negotiations that will realize a two state-solution in line with relevant UN resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements," a spokesman for Guterres said in a statement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was a "historic day" and would launch a "new era" for the Arab world and Israel.
But the Palestinians strongly rejected the deal, calling it a "betrayal" of their cause, including their claim to Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
"The secretary-general will continue to work with all sides to open further possibilities for dialogue, peace and stability," the spokesman said.