Israel and Bahrain formalise relations at ceremony in Manama
The Israeli delegation, accompanied by US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, will travel to the UAE next.
Bahrain and Israel have signed a joint communique to formalise ties during a visit by an Israeli and US delegation to Manama to broaden cooperation that Washington has promoted as an anti-Iran bulwark and potential economic boom.
Bahrain followed the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in agreeing last month to normalise ties with Israel in US-brokered deals, stunning Palestinians who had demanded statehood before any such regional rapprochement.
The UAE and Bahrain became the third and fourth Arab states to agree to normalise ties with Israel, following Egypt’s peace deal with Israel in 1979 and a 1994 pact with Jordan.
For the US allies, it is a chance to close ranks on Iran more overtly.
The Israeli delegation, which flew on an El Al Israel Airlines charter flight from Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, was accompanied by US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.
“It was indeed an historic visit, to start opening relations between both countries,” Bahraini Minister for Foreign Affairs 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”.
An Israeli delegation signs an agreement with Bahraini officials [Ronen Zvulun/Pool/Reuters] Israel and Bahrain, host to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, inked the so-called “Abraham ...
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