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Israel's Netanyahu to make first official visit to Bahrain, UAE next week: report

The move to normalise with Israel has been slammed by Palestinians [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 October, 2020

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According to reports, the Israeli Prime Minister is set to make his first official trips to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain next week.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is allegedly scheduled to visit the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain next week, according to reports.

The trip, reported by Arabi21 through private sources, will mark the first official high-level visit between the new allies, who formalised ties in a controversial agreement dubbed the Abraham Accords in September.

Israeli, Bahraini and Emirati authorities have yet to confirm reports of Netanyahu’s visit.

The latest development comes as an Israeli delegation was scheduled to land in Manama on Sunday on the first commercial flight between Tel Aviv and the Gulf state.

The delegation is expected to begin diplomatic and commercial relations between the two states following on from the controversial formalising of ties in September.

A spokesman for the Israeli prime minister, Ofir Gendelman, confirmed the delegation will be headed by the chief of the National Security Authority Meir Ben Shabat.

"Memoranda of understanding will be signed on various bilateral issues with the aim pouring practical content into relations between the two countries and strengthening cooperation between them," Gendelman said.

"Members of the Israeli delegation will hold talks with senior Bahraini and US officials in the following areas: aviation, transportation, technology, industry, trade, money, tourism, agriculture, diplomatic relations, health and culture," he added.

The Israeli delegation will see the acting director general of the Israeli prime minister’s office and officials from national security, finance, economy and innovation ministries hold talks with Bahraini and American officials. in Manama.

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and US Middle East Envoy Avi Berkowitz are among the delegates involved.

The plane carrying the officials - EL AI 973 - is the first such commercial aircraft to land in Manama and will travel through Saudi airspace.

On August 31, the first Israeli plane landed in the Emirati capital carrying an American-Israeli delegation headed by US President Donald Trump’s son in law and senior White House advisor, Jared Kushner.

Read also: Majority of Arabs reject normalisation with Israel: Poll

After the visit to Bahrain, the US delegation is set to depart to Abu Dhabi, where Secretary Mnuchin will participate in the "first-ever Abraham Accords Business Summit", the department said.

The agreement includes a pledge by both Israel and Bahrain to not take hostile actions against each other, as well as to act to prevent hostile actions by a third party.

Bahrain became the fourth Arab state to normalise relations with Israel in September, after the UAE, Egypt and Jordan. The deal was slammed by Palestinians as a betrayal to their cause.

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