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Bahrain FM in Israel on first official visit from Gulf kingdom

By AFP - Nov 18,2020 - Last updated at Nov 18,2020

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Bahrain's foreign minister arrived in Israel on Wednesday on the first official visit from the Gulf kingdom. The minister, Abdellatif Al Zayani, was welcomed at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport by his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi.

Bahrain and its Gulf neighbour the United Arab Emirates both signed US-sponsored normalisation accords with Israel at the White House on September 15, pacts that were condemned as a "betrayal" by the Palestinians and their allies.

At a joint appearance following their talks, Ashkenazi hailed Zayani’s visit as “yet another historic day in the Middle East”.

“It is an exciting moment to meet a friend for the first time, face-to-face,” he said.

Ashekanzi confirmed that Israel had agreed to open an embassy in Manama, while Bahrain was expected to soon open an embassy in Israel.

Bahraini citizens will be able to apply for Israeli entry visas from December 1, and direct flights between the two countries are expected to begin soon, Ashkenazi said.

During his two-day trip, Pompeo is expected to make the first visit by a senior US official to a an Israeli housing unit in the occupied West Bank.

All Zionist housing units on occupied Palestinian land are regarded as illegal by most of the international community.

Their persistent expansion under successive Netanyahu-led governments has proved one of the biggest obstacles to the peace process with the Palestinians.

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