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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Top Diplomats from US, Bahrain Arrive in Israel for Historic Summit

Mike Pompeo, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani and host Binyamin Netanyahu praise ‘warm peace’ in the making

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The Media Line — Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomed Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jerusalem on Wednesday for a historic trilateral meeting.

“Just two months ago, we made history in Washington,” Netanyahu noted at a joint press conference with Pompeo and Zayani at his official Jerusalem residence. “Today, we are making history again.”

The prime minister expressed hope that Wednesday’s events would “mark another important milestone on the road to peace between our two countries and peace in the region…. [We are building] a bridge of peace that many others will cross in the future.”

In a celebratory White House ceremony in September, Bahrain, alongside the United Arab Emirates, signed the Abraham Accords and normalized diplomatic relations with Israel. Several weeks later, Sudan announced it would be joining the agreements.

Zayani thanked his Israeli hosts and his American counterpart, noting that after having met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi earlier in the day, he was “greatly encouraged… and optimistic” for the future.

“It has been obvious: the intention and keenness of all sides to ensure that the peace we are pursuing will be a warm peace that will deliver clear benefits for our people,” the Bahraini foreign minister said.

“It has been obvious: the intention and keenness of all sides to ensure that the peace we are pursuing will be a warm peace that will deliver clear benefits for our people.”

Pompeo, in Israel as part of a regional farewell tour, echoed Netanyahu’s remarks, saying the US was “hopeful that there will be many more [states] to follow” in making peace with Israel.

The secretary also addressed other, less friendly faces in the Middle East, warning “malign actors like… Iran that their influence in the region is waning and they are ever more isolated.”

The secretary of state touched down at Ben-Gurion Airport several hours after Zayani, who, leading the first-ever official delegation from Manama, was welcomed on the tarmac by Ashkenazi.

The top Israeli diplomat quoted David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s legendary founder and first prime minister, in his remarks to his counterpart.

“We extend our hand to all neighboring states and their people in an offer of peace,” Ashkenazi said.

“We extend our hand to all neighboring states and their people in an offer of peace.”

“We are united by the goal of delivering the fruits of peace to our people. We are committed to the swift and full implementation of the peace and normalization agreements between Israel and Bahrain,” he said, adding that the countries had formed teams of experts to implement proposals and “make concrete progress.”

Zayani thanked Ashkenazi for the warm welcome.

“I come from a country convinced of the importance of peace, from a people who believe in coexistence, mutual respect and the acceptance of others,” he said.

“[This visit] would have appeared impossible only a few months ago,” he marveled. “Now [it] seems to happen almost weekly. That is a testament to the seriousness of both sides.”

Last month, a similar delegation from the UAE made its first official visit to Israel, conducting bilateral meetings and roundtable discussions with Israeli officials.

Zayani said he was “encouraged by the genuinely open and constructive atmosphere” that he hoped would lead to “a genuine and lasting peace.”

The two diplomats revealed that Ashkenazi will pay a reciprocal visit to Manama in December, where he will participate in a multilateral forum to discuss regional and international security cooperation issues.

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