Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has received the first-ever ambassador to Israel from the United Arab Emirates, following the agreement between the countries last year to normalize relations.

According to The Times of Israel, UAE envoy Mohamed Mahmoud Al Khajah arrived in Israel on Monday and delivered his credentials to Rivlin during a ceremony in Jerusalem.

​“This is a moving ceremony for me, as president of Israel,” Rivlin said during the ceremony.

“We believed that if we waited patiently, the right time would come in which we would be able to take our ties a step forward. To deepen the friendship between us. To make it public,” Rivlin noted, adding that relations between Israel and the UAE have been developing for some time.

“Our countries have a shared ethos: a small country committed to turning arid land into a flourishing garden, against all the odds,” Rivlin continued, also calling Monday’s ceremony “a terrific day, in which the Emirati flag flies alongside the Israeli flag over the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.”

“Our two countries have the largest and most important economies in the region,” Al Khajah said. “I will make every effort to make these relations ever tighten, to close the gap between the two countries and their people,” he continued, noting that Israel and the UAE have “collaborated in fighting COVID-19,” he added.

Al Khajah will spend a few days in Israel, where he is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as other senior officials.