Israel, Bahrain agree to open embassies

Israel and Bahrain have agreed to open embassies, the Foreign Ministers of the two countries said in a joint press conference.

At the briefing on Wednesday, Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al-Zayani, the first Minister from a Gulf country to make an official visit to Israel, said his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi will visit Manama in December, reports Xinhua news agency.

“I was pleased to convey to minister Ashkenazi the Kingdom of Bahrain’s formal request to open an embassy in Israel and to inform him that Israel’s reciprocal request for an embassy in Manama has been approved,” Al-Zayani said.

He also expressed his hopes for the process to “move forward relatively quickly”.

Meanwhile, Ashkenazi said he hoped that the new Israeli embassy will be inaugurated during his visit in December.

Starting December 1, he said, Bahraini citizens can apply for a visa to Israel through an online website, while flights between the two countries are expected soon.

Together with the US and Bahraini teams, Al-Zayani arrived at the Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv on Wednesday morning, as the first Bahraini government official to visit Israel.

Al-Zayani is also scheduled to meet Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in addition to a trilateral meeting with Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who arrived in Israel as part of his 10-day trip to the Middle East.

A US-brokered agreement between Israel and Bahrain to normalize ties was first announced on September 11 before it was officially signed at the White House on September 15.

A similar deal was also signed between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

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