Bahrain, Israel leaders in post-normalisation accord talks

Bahrain, Israel leaders in post-normalisation accord talks
2 min read
22 September, 2020
Bahrain and Israel held talks on Tuesday, a week after signing a controversial normalisation accord.
The deals were signed in Washington [Getty]
Bahrain's crown prince, Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held talks on the telephone on Tuesday, a week after their countries signed a normalisation accord.

They "reviewed potential areas of bilateral cooperation and relevant regional and international developments", the Gulf state's BNA news agency said.

The prince said the September 15 deal, signed in Washington at the same time as an Israel-UAE normalisation agreement, would "strengthen regional security, stability and prosperity", BNA reported.

Netanyahu travelled to the US capital for a ceremony to sign the deals along with the foreign affairs chiefs of the two Arab monarchies of the Gulf.

In Israel, the prime minister's office said in a statement that Netanyahu and the crown prince had "a very friendly discussion".

"We talked of the means to rapidly boost the contents of the accord between our two countries, to transform this peace into an economic, technological, touristic peace, peace in each of these sectors," Netanyahu said, according to the statement.

Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates became the third and fourth Arab countries to normalise ties with Israel, following Jordan's 1994 peace treaty with the Jewish state and Egypt's peace deal in 1979.

The Palestinians have condemned the US-brokered Gulf deals with Israel as "a stab in the back" for their aspirations to establish an independent state of their own.

Since announcing the deal, Bahrain has faced internal opposition with dozens taking to the streets in a rare displays of dissent against the autocratic government.

On Monday, the United States Embassy in Bahrain warned American citizens in the Gulf kingdom of the "need for caution".

"The Embassy encourages all US citizens to review their personal security plans, remain aware of their surroundings, including local events, and maintain a high level of vigilance," an embassy statement read.

Since 2011, protests have been extremely rare in the kingdom and are met harshly by security forces.

The embassy encouraged citizens to "keep a low profile" and to "avoid crowds and demonstrations".

Bahrain is a key US ally in the Gulf and hosts the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet.

Bahrain's King, Sheikh Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa, said on Monday that the deal with Israel was "not directed against anyone", state media reported.

Sunni-ruled Bahrain has faced unrest among its large Shia community, which it has consistently blamed on Iran.

Read also: US issues security alert for citizens in Bahrain

Both Manama and Dubai share with Israel a vehemently anti-Iran foreign policy stance and Tehran has slammed the normalisation moves.

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