UPDATED: Netanyahu cancels planned UAE visit

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed media reports he had been due to visit the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, saying in a statement the trip was postponed due to “difficulties” in coordinating his flight via Jordan’s airspace. 

Such a visit would have been the first by an Israeli prime minister to the Gulf power.

Israeli media reported the planned visit on Wednesday, saying Netanyahu would meet Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. Commentators deemed it as a chance for Netanyahu to flourish his diplomatic credentials ahead of Israel’s March 23 election.

Earlier on Thursday, Israeli media said the planned visit could be held up or cancelled by questions over the air route to the Gulf state and an illness suffered by Netanyahu’s wife.

Main Photo: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. EPA-EFE/REUVEN CASTRO / POOL

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