Israeli prime minister begins official visit to Bahrain

Israeli prime minister begins official visit to Bahrain

MANAMA, TGO: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett arrived in Bahrain on Monday on an official two-day visit to the kingdom.

He was received on arrival by Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism Zayed bin Rashid Al Zayani, Bahrain’s Ambassador to Israel Khaled Yousef Al-Jalahma, Israeli Ambassador to Bahrain Eitan Na’eh and senior officials at the Bahraini Foreign Ministry.

The first-ever official visit by an Israeli prime minister to the Gulf kingdom follows the US-brokered 2020 Abraham Accords.

Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates became the third and fourth Arab states — following Egypt and Jordan — to establish ties with Israel when they signed on to the pacts negotiated under former US president Donald Trump.

Israel and Bahrain signed a defense pact during Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s visit to Manama earlier this month.

Bennett plans to meet with King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and other officials including Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who serves as the Gulf nation’s prime minister.

A statement from Bennett’s office had said he and Bahraini leaders would discuss additional ways to strengthen relations, and during his trip. He will also be meeting with the ministers of finance, industry and transportation.

Former Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu had planned to visit Manama a year ago, but canceled a scheduled trip because of the coronavirus pandemic.