Bahraini FM Arrives in Israel, Asks to Open Embassy
Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani landed in Israel on Wednesday morning aboard the first commercial flight between Manama and Tel Aviv. He was accompanied on the flight – Gulf Air 972, whose numbers are the same as Israel’s telephone country code – by several senior government officials, as well as by US peace negotiator Avi Berkowitz. The delegation was met at Ben-Gurion Airport by Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, who is expected to sign several bilateral agreements with his Bahraini counterpart. “I arrived here from a country convinced of the importance of peace, from a people who believe in coexistence, mutual respect and acceptance of others,” Zayani said during a news conference. He announced that Bahrain had made a formal request to open an embassy in Israel, adding that an Israeli request to open an embassy of its own in Bahrain had been approved. He said the new relationship will offer “clear positive benefits for our country and the region.” Zayani was scheduled to meet later in the day with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.