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Islamic Finance

Top Dubai, Israeli banks in cooperation talks after peace deal

Published 27 Aug,2020 via Bloomberg Politics & Policy - The biggest banks in Dubai and Israel are in talks to cooperate following this month’s landmark peace agreement between the Jewish state and the United Arab Emirates.

Discussions between Bank Leumi and Emirates NBD Bank PJSC are at an early stage and no final decisions have been made, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The person declined to give further details.

While Shmulik Arbel, head of Leumi’s corporate division, said on a conference call on Thursday that the Tel Aviv-based lender is in cooperation negotiations with a “leading bank in Dubai,” he didn’t identify the company. Leumi and Emirates NBD declined to comment.

A deal would be the first commercial cooperation between Israeli and UAE banks since the countries announced on Aug. 13 that they reached a U.S.-brokered agreement to begin normalizing relations. Talks between various parties from startups to airlines have already started as investors prepare for what could be an economic boon for both sides as they end decades of hostility.

The decision by the UAE may also be seen as a prelude for its far bigger neighbor, Saudi Arabia, starting diplomatic ties. Israel said it expected Bahrain and Sudan to be the next in line to sign accords. Sudan credited the UAE for charting “the correct course for the rest of the Arab countries” by signing the agreement with Israel.

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Archana Narayanan