Israeli prime Minister makes first visit to Bahrain

2022-05-24 0 By

Beijing, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) –Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett arrived in Bahrain’s capital Manama on Thursday for his first visit to the Arab country.It is the highest-level Israeli official to visit Pakistan since the two countries normalised relations in 2020.Bennett will meet with Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed Bin Salman to discuss “additional ways to strengthen bilateral ties…In particular, to promote diplomatic and economic affairs, with a focus on technology and innovation “.The visit is expected to last two days.Bennett told reporters before his departure that he hoped the visit would send a “signal of goodwill” and demonstrate the two countries’ “common ground in the face of common threats.”Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Bennett attends a news conference in Jerusalem on December 19, 2021.(Xinhua/GINi Photo Agency) Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed an agreement to normalize relations at the White House on September 15, 2020.On October 18 of the same year, an Israeli delegation visited Bahrain and signed a joint communique with Bahrain, officially establishing comprehensive diplomatic relations between the two countries.Bennett’s first visit to Bahrain comes at a time of regional tension.An oil tanker exploded and a fire broke out in ABU Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, on July 17.Yemen’s Houthis later claimed to have launched a “military operation” against the UNITED Arab Emirates.Uae air defense systems intercepted and destroyed two and one houthi ballistic missiles fired at the UAE on July 24 and 31, respectively.Israel has recently strengthened cooperation with Gulf states, with senior officials visiting Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and other countries.Following Bennett’s visit to the UAE in December last year, President Isaac Herzog’s visit to the UAE on January 30 was the first official visit to the country by a Prime minister and president of Israel.Israel’s defense minister visited Bahrain earlier this month and the two sides signed a security cooperation agreement.In addition, an Israeli naval officer will be stationed in Bahrain, an appointment linked to an international coalition “to ensure freedom of navigation in the region”.It is the first time an Israeli officer has been posted to an Arab country, according to Reuters.Israel has said it is willing to cooperate with Gulf states in air defense, but it is unclear whether it will sell the Iron Dome air defense system to the Gulf states, Reuters reported.Some analysts say that if Israel sells Iron Dome, the air defense system could fall into the hands of Israel’s enemies and compete with U.S. arms exports.Since August 2020, four Arab states — the UNITED Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco — have announced normalization of relations with Israel under the auspices of the United States.The agreement is opposed by the Palestinians.(Yang Shuyi)