Israel desires normalization deals with more Arab countries

Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met with Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa in the Bahraini capital of Manama on Monday, expressing Israel’s desire to sign normalization deals with more Arab countries, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.

Cohen’s visit to Manama, which began on Sunday, comes ahead of the three-year anniversary of the U.S.-brokered normalization deal in which Bahrain agreed to normalize relations with Israel.

The trip marks Cohen’s first visit to one of the countries that established diplomatic relations with Israel under the so-called Abraham Accords in 2020, which also include the United Arab Emirates and Morocco. Cohen assumed office in late December when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government was inaugurated.

During Monday’s meeting at the Al-Qudaibiya Palace, the two officials discussed “regional challenges and their countries’ commitment to combating terrorism,” according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Cohen praised the Abraham Accords, saying that they “have contributed to regional stability.” He called for the advancement of economic and civil ties between the two countries, including the establishment of a free trade zone.

He also expressed Israel’s wish to “expand the circle of peace and normalization in the Middle East.”

Later on Monday, the minister is expected to inaugurate the Israeli embassy in Manama and sign several Memoranda of Understanding on Israeli-Bahraini cooperation.

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