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Bahraini diplomat to visit Israel


Bahraini diplomat to visit Israel

Bahrain israel
Photo: Ronen Zvulun/ Getty

Israel will today host a diplomatic visit from Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, the first high-level official from the kingdom to be welcomed to the country.

The visit occurs in the wake of the historic Abraham Accords, which was signed in September and ratified by the Knesset last week. The treaty, which establishes diplomatic relations between Israel, Bahrain and the UAE, augurs an expansion of security and economic ties. Expect the foreign minister’s visit today to revolve around securing deals for tourism, transport and finance, similar to the agreement reached last month allowing for unlimited passenger flights between the principal airports. Manama hopes that these will expand its status as a regional transportation and banking hub.

Manama is also likely to take full advantage of connections with Israel’s high-tech economy to diversify its own—and to capitalise on the possibility of acquiring air defence systems from the US. Saudi Arabia, which is still nominally committed to Palestinian statehood, is the only roadblock for deeper relations between Israel and Bahrain. However, this is only a loose constraint, considering that normalisation could not have occurred without Saudi approval in the first place. Both kingdoms see Israel as a crucial ally to help balance against Iran.

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