"Israel" opens embassy in Bahrain after 3 years of normalization
Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani said that the opening of the embassy is a symbol of both sides shared commitment to security and prosperity for all the peoples of the region.
"Israel" officially opened its embassy in Bahrain on Monday, three years after both sides normalized ties under the US-sponsored normalization deals known as the Abraham Accords, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen attended the opening ceremony of the diplomatic mission in Bahrain, along with a delegation of businessmen and government officials.
"The (Bahrain) foreign minister and I agreed that we should work together to increase the number of direct flights, the tourism, the trade volume, the investments," Cohen said during the ceremony.
Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani said that the opening of the embassy is a symbol of both sides' shared commitment to security and prosperity for all the peoples of the region.
The normalization deal between Bahrain and "Israel" was one of the four agreements known as the Abraham Accords, which were also signed with the UAE, Morocco, and Sudan.
Bahrain, a small island in the Gulf, is home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet. The country is ruled by Al Khalifa royal family.
According to Reuters, analysts estimate that the normalization of relations between Bahrain and "Israel" was partly motivated by their shared concerns about Iran.
The opening of the Israeli embassy in Bahrain is seen as a significant development for the Israeli side as the US continues to pressure its strategic ally, Riyadh, to normalize relations with "Israel".
Despite US pressure, Riyadh has so far refused to normalize relations with "Israel", linking the move to the creation of a Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, along with other demands.
On Monday, Israeli media reported that Saudi authorities delayed granting visas to Israeli occupation ministers to attend a UNESCO conference scheduled to be held next week, prompting the Israelis to cancel their attendance so far.
The Israeli Channel 13 cited senior Israeli sources as saying that Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and Education Minister Yoav Kisch were supposed to arrive in Saudi Arabia to attend the conference, but the Israelis decided to cancel their participation due to Saudi procrastination.
Channel 13's political affairs commentator claimed that the Israeli decision came upon advice from the US after talks between American and Israeli sources in recent weeks, suggesting that the Israeli presence in Saudi Arabia is "premature and puts Riyadh in an embarrassing situation."
The Israeli channel described what happened as a "red sign" by Saudi Arabia in the face of "Israel", amid continued talks to normalize relations between the two sides.
Although Israeli occupation ministers will not head to Saudi Arabia, "very low-level" professional bodies will attend the conference, the channel noted.