Israel Aerospace Industries announced Thursday that it has signed a cooperation agreement with Group 42 of Abu Dhabi. The companies will collaborate in research and development to find solutions to help combat the coronavirus pandemic.
The collaboration agreement between the companies from the two Middle Eastern countries who don’t have diplomatic relations was signed via video call, during which the parties discussed ways to leverage common innovative technologies in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, laser, and others. According to IAI’s statement, the joint medical and technological initiatives are intended to benefit the populations of both states and aid in the global fight against Covid-19 and health security throughout the region.
The agreement was signed with the Elta Division of the IAI. ELTA Systems Ltd. is considered a world leader in defense technology involved in producing state-of-the-art radars, remote sensors, cyber defenses, satellite technology, robotics, unmanned vehicles, and more.
"IAI is pleased to sign this cooperation agreement with our partners in Abu Dhabi. The coronavirus pandemic crosses continents, peoples, and religions and we place great importance on cooperation that will deliver breakthrough solutions,” said Elta CEO Yoav Tourgeman. “We are proud to join forces with Group 42 from the UAE and to be the harbinger of future collaborations between the two countries.”
Emirates News Agency quoted Group 42’s CEO Peng Xiao saying “At G42, we embrace international cooperation as a way to develop new and innovative technological solutions for the public good. The UAE has led by example in the global collaborative effort to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic, and our company is privileged to follow the lead and share resources and expertise with Rafael and IAI for such a significant cause."
Last week, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the collaboration, without naming the companies, calling it a result of “extensive and intensive contacts in recent months and will bring a blessing to many in our region.”
A spokesman for the UAE’s Foreign Ministry also tweeted about it writing that “In light of strengthening international cooperation in the fields of research, development & technology in service of humanity, two private companies in UAE sign an agreement with two companies in Israel to develop research technology to fight Covid-19.”
Channel 12 news reported that Mossad chief Yossi Cohen helped broker the new agreement.
Though Israel and UAE have no official diplomatic ties, recent months have seen back and forth statements by officials, urging the need for cooperation on health and other issues.
Both states share a regional enemy in Iran.