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Israel UN culture officials to visit Bahrain later this month

The announcement is the latest showing warming ties between Israel and Gulf states [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 June, 2018

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An Israeli delegation will visit Bahrain later this month for a UN cultural agency UNESCO meet in the capital Manama, an official has said.

An Israeli delegation will visit Bahrain later this month for a UN cultural agency UNESCO meet in the capital Manama, an official has said.

Mounir Bouchenaki, an advisor for the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, made the announcement on Sunday in comments to local newspaper Akhbar Al-Khaleej, Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

"An Israeli delegation will attend the meetings because this is an international meeting organised by UNESCO and Bahrain is just the host," Bouchenaki was quoted as saying.

"Any country in the UN has the right to attend the meetings. There will also be a Palestinian delegation attending," he added.

Bahrain will host a session of UNESCO's world heritage committee from 24 June till 4 July.

The announcement is the latest in a series showing warming ties between Israel and Gulf states that are increasingly coming out in the open as they find common cause against mutual foe Iran.

Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa has reportedly said he has grown "tired" of Arab states' boycott of Israel and called for diplomatic ties to be established between the two countries.

Bahrain's foreign minister stunned Israelis and Arabs in May when he tweeted support for Israel's self-defence after Israel retaliated to an Iranian rocket barrage by attacking suspected Iranian targets in Syria.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu frequently boasts of growing, discreet cooperation with moderate Arab countries.

Though he does not identify them by name, they have long been believed to be Sunni Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

The visit will come amid a brutal crackdown on Palestinian protesters by Israel troops.

Since major border protests broke out at the end of March, at least 145 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire in the same time span, while no Israelis have been killed.

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