MANAMA, Bahrain – Israel and Bahrain signed an agreement to establish diplomatic relations in Manama on Sunday, a month after a historic ceremony at the White House.
Why this is important: The “Joint Statement for the Establishment of Peaceful and Diplomatic Relations” is an interim agreement on the path to a comprehensive peace agreement that will pave the way for the opening of embassies and further cooperation agreements between the two countries.
Game level: The signing was attended by Treasury Secretary Steven Munuchin and White House Ambassador Avi Bergowitz, along with Bahrain’s Foreign Minister and Israel’s National Security Adviser.
- Munuchin and Berkowitz arrived in Manama with an Israeli delegation on the first direct flight of an Israeli plane to Bahrain – Flight 973, which refers to Bahrain’s telephone code.
- Israeli and Bahraini officials negotiated for several hours and issued eight MoUs on visas, trade, agriculture, investment, direct flights, finance and investment.
- Munuchin’s deputy stood by as officials signed memorandums of understanding with diplomatic relations.
What they say: “Today is the first step for Israel, Bahrain and the United States, and an important step in strengthening stability in the region. We have a great opportunity in the areas of security, trade, travel and many more,” Munuchin said.
What’s next: Minutes after the signing ceremony, a senior official of the Israeli Foreign Ministry presented a diplomatic note to the Bahraini Foreign Minister with a formal request to open an Israeli embassy in Manama. Israeli officials told me they wanted to open the new embassy by the end of this year.
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