L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House
L-R: Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House
Photo: AFP
L-R: Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House

Israel sends treaty delegation to Bahrain with Trump aides

Jewish state seeks to cement nascent relations and broaden Gulf cooperation; U.S. dignitaries will continue on Monday to UAE, accompany the UAE's first delegation to Israel

Reuters |
Published: 10.18.20 , 09:55
Israel is due to send delegates to Bahrain on Sunday to formalize nascent relations and broaden Gulf cooperation that Washington has promoted as an anti-Iran bulwark and potential economic bonanza.
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  • Bahrain followed the United Arab Emirates in agreeing last month to normalize ties with Israel, stunning Palestinians who had demanded statehood before any such regional rapprochement.
    L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House
    L-R: Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House
    (Photo: AFP)
    The breakthrough, overseen by U.S. President Donald Trump, is a foreign policy flourish ahead of his reelection bid next month. For the U.S. allies, it is a chance to close ranks more overtly on Iran.
    Sunday's delegation, led by National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, will be accompanied by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, whose office said the mission seeks "expanded economic cooperation" among Israel, Bahrain and UAE.
    An official involved in the visit said Israel and Bahrain would sign a communique upgrading their relationship: from the declaration of intent delivered at a White House ceremony on Sept. 15 to a formal establishment of ties.
    Israel's Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, shows screens displaying the flight number for the El Al flight to Bahrain's capital Manama ahead of the visit of Israeli officials to the Gulf countryIsrael's Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, shows screens displaying the flight number for the El Al flight to Bahrain's capital Manama ahead of the visit of Israeli officials to the Gulf country
    Screens at Ben Gurion Airport display flight information for El Al flight to Bahrain's capital Manama ahead of Israeli delegation's visit of to the Gulf state
    (Photo: AFP)
    The delegates travel to Manama on El Al flight 973, a nod to Bahrain's telephone code. The Israeli airliner will overfly Saudi Arabia, accommodation by the Gulf powerhouse that has so far resisted U.S. appeals to normalize ties with Israel.
    Mnuchin and another senior Trump aide, Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz, will continue on Monday to UAE, whose accord with Israel has uncorked bilateral commerce. On Tuesday, the U.S. dignitaries will accompany the UAE's first delegation to Israel.
    Though less oil-rich than UAE, Bahrain - host to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet - has geostrategic significance.
    US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks during the third annual US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue at the State Department in WashingtonUS Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks during the third annual US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue at the State Department in Washington
    U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
    (Photo: AFP)
    Ruled by a Sunni Muslim monarchy, it was the only Gulf Arab state to experience a sizeable pro-democracy uprising, led by the Shi'ite majority population, in the 2011 "Arab Spring".
    The Israel deal drew anger among Bahrainis at home and abroad. Manama has said the deal protects its interests from Iran.
    A Sept. 13 report by Israel's Intelligence Ministry saw potential for defense cooperation with Bahrain, describing it as threatened by "Shiite political sedition, directed by Iran and its proxies".
    Israel could also help Bahrain with renewable energy, food security and banking and finance technologies, it said.
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