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Home » Israel, Bahrain formalise ties at ceremony attended by US officials – News
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Israel, Bahrain formalise ties at ceremony attended by US officials – News

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The ceremony also saw the signing of several memoranda of understanding.

Bahrain and Israel signed a joint communique to formalise nascent ties during a visit by an Israeli and US delegation to Manama on Sunday to broaden cooperation.

Bahrain followed the United Arab Emirates in agreeing last month to normalise ties with Israel.

The Israeli delegation, which flew on an El Al Israel Airlines charter flight from Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, was accompanied by US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

“It was indeed an historic visit, to start opening relations between both countries,” Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al-Zayani said after the signing ceremony with Israel’s Foreign Ministry director general Alon Ushpiz and National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat.

Al-Zayani touched elbows with Ben-Shabbat, who described the step as a “promising beginning” and said the Israeli delegation was accepted “with open arms, with warmth and cordiality.”

Israel and Bahrain, host to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, signed a “Declaration of Peace, Cooperation, and Constructive Diplomatic and Friendly Relations” at a White House ceremony on September 15, a document that fell short of a formal treaty.

Al-Zayani said engagement and cooperation were the most effective and sustainable way of bringing about genuine and lasting peace in the region, and said his country supported resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through dialogue.

Just the beginning

Mnuchin described the accord as an important step in regional stability and “just the beginning of the work that is going forward”.

“I think the opportunity is way beyond just investments,” Mnuchin earlier told reporters on the El Al flight. “It’s in technology, building various different businesses – and in the case of Bahrain as well, really expanding the opportunities for them quite, quite, quite dramatically.”

The ceremony also saw the signing of several memoranda of understanding. They cover trade, air services, telecommunications, finance, banking and agriculture, according to a list provided by a Bahraini official.

Houda Nounoo, a Bahraini diplomat, told reporters the Gulf state planned to formally reopen Manama’s old synagogue, which has a Jewish community of 34 people, for the Purim festival on February 25.

Ben-Shabbat, speaking in Arabic at an arrival ceremony at Manama airport, said Israel looked forward to hosting a Bahraini delegation in Israel soon.

The El Al flight flew over Saudi Arabia.

Mnuchin and the other US officials travel on Monday to the UAE, where the accord with Israel has uncorked bilateral commerce. On Tuesday the US dignitaries will join the UAE’s first delegation to Israel.

Israel and the UAE will sign a deal on Tuesday to allow 28 weekly commercial flights between Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Israel’s Transportation Ministry said on Sunday.





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