Joe Biden says UAE-Israel ties a 'historic step'

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

is calling the agreement between and the "a historic step to bridge the deep divides of the Middle East."

The former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee issued a statement on Thursday, calling the agreement that the UAE publicly recognize Israel "a welcome, brave, and badly-needed act of statesmanship" and a "critical recognition that Israel is a vibrant, integral part of the Middle East that is here to stay."

Biden also said that West Bank annexation by Israel "would be a body blow to the cause of peace, which is why I oppose it now and would oppose it as president" if he's elected when the U.S. votes in November. He said that as president, he'd seek to foster a two-state solution in the Middle East.

Biden also said the accord shows "the role American democracy can play" and "builds on efforts of multiple administrations," including President Barack Obama's. But he did not mention the Trump White House by name.

Biden said he'd spent time with UAE leaders as vice president and "I am gratified by today's announcement."

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