Bahrain, Israel formalize diplomatic ties


Oct. 19 (UPI) — Israel and Bahrain have signed an agreement to establish formal diplomatic ties following U.S.-brokered negotiations, paving the way toward the signing of a peace treaty.

Israel’s national security adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani signed the historic “Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic, Peaceful and Friendly Relations” as U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin looked on Sunday during the ceremony in Bahrain’s capital of Manama.


The deal makes Bahrain the fourth Arab nation to formalize relations with Israel and the second in weeks.

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed agreements with Israel known as the Abraham Accords last month at the White House but while the UAE-Israel agreement formalized ties, the one with Manama fell just short.

In the agreement on Sunday, the two countries vowed not to take aggressive actions against one another and that they will “continue their efforts to achieve a just, comprehensive and enduring resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

They also signed a slew of memorandums of understanding on economic and trade relations, telecommunications, commerce, air services, banking, and the movement of people, among others, the state-run Bahrain News Agency reported.

“We started the day as friends and we’re concluding it as family members — members of the family of Abraham,” said Ben-Shabbat during the ceremony in reference to the accords signed in Washington, D.C.

Earlier Sunday, the U.S. delegation including Mnuchin and David M. Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, landed in Bahrain with Ben-Shabbat aboard the first commercial flight between the Arab nation and Israel.

“Marking yet another step forward implementing the Abraham Accords,” Friedman tweeted with a picture of them standing in front of the aircraft. “Salaam, Shalom and Peace be with us all!”

The U.S. delegation is scheduled next to travel to Abu Dhabi where Mnuchin will participate in the first Abraham Accords Business Summit before returning to Israel on the first-ever direct commercial flight from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv, the Treasury said in a statement.

Danny Danon, Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations, said the agreement Sunday was the continuation of an “upward trend.”

“I anticipate more countries in the region following suit,” he tweeted.

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