Israel’s Netanyahu says he’ll go to Bahrain quickly

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© Reuters. US Secretary of State Pompeo meets Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in Jerusalem

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that he would visit Bahrain “soon” at the invitation of the Gulf State’s Crown Prince Salman al-Khalifa.

Bahrain followed the United Arab Emirates in normalizing relations with Israel in an agreement brokered by the United States that marked the Middle East’s strategic direction against Iran. The postponement has enraged the Palestinians, who have called for statehood prior to such regional rapprochement.

“We are both delighted to bring the fruits of peace to our people and our countries in such a short space of time. That is why he (al-Khalifa) has invited me to come to Bahrain for an official visit soon, and I will be happy to do so do, “said Netanyahu said in a statement about a call he made with the Crown Prince.

A first Bahraini delegation visited Israel last Wednesday.

On Monday, an Israeli official and local media said Netanyahu secretly traveled to Saudi Arabia on Sunday to speak with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. This would be the first publicly confirmed visit by an Israeli leader.

The Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, denied that such talks had taken place. Netanyahu has not confirmed or rejected the reports.

Since September, the Trump administration has signed agreements with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan to normalize their relations with Israel. An Israeli delegation traveled to Sudan on Monday.

Although White House officials have said more countries are considering normalizing relations with Israel, further developments seem unlikely before President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20 and determines his administration’s policy towards Iran.

Biden has announced that he would rejoin the nuclear deal the world powers have signed with Iran when it resumes strict compliance with the deal and work with allies to strengthen its terms.

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