The ruler of the United Arab Emirates, President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, issued a decree on Saturday formally ending a law on the boycott of Israel after a deal was struck to normalize relations between the two countries.

The decree abolishes law No. 15 from the year 1972 and penalties resulting from violating the boycott, according to the official WAM news agency.

"The decree comes as part of the UAE's efforts to expand diplomatic and commercial cooperation with Israel, and draw up a roadmap towards launching joint cooperation, leading to bilateral relations by stimulating economic growth and promoting technological innovation," WAM said.

The ending of the boycott allows individuals and companies to forge deals with entities and individuals who live in Israel, have Israeli citizenship or work on behalf of Israel wherever they are.

It also allows the entry, exchange, possession of and trade in Israeli goods inside the UAE.

"This is an important step to promote prosperity and peace in the region," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday evening.

On Aug. 13, Israel and the UAE announced an agreement to normalize diplomatic ties in return for Israel suspending a controversial plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

The deal makes the UAE the third Arab country after Egypt and Jordan -- and the first Arab Gulf country -- to have diplomatic links with Israel. There has been widespread speculation about whether other Arab nations will follow suit.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held talks in the UAE, as part of a Middle East tour, which included Israel, Bahrain and Oman.

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