Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al-Zayani met his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi on the tarmac at Ben-Gurion International Airport on November 18.Ashkenazi will visit Bahrain in December. It was a historic visit for the Bahrain diplomat. He arrived on a Gulf Air flight. US Middle East Envoy Avi Berkowitz was on the flight as well. It was the first visit of is kind and arrived with Gulf Air GF972. The number was chosen due to Israel's +972 country code.
He said later at a press conference "I arrive here from a country convinced of the importance of peace, from people who believe in coexistence, mutual respect and acceptance of others.These r values that have always underpinned the Bahraini society."
"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. This is a process which I hope can now move forward relatively quickly." said Al-Zayani. The visit came as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also arrived and it came just seven hours after Israel carried out retaliatory airstrikes against Iran's Quds Force in Syria. It also came a day after Israel's President invited UAE Crown Prince Mohamad bin Zayed to Israel. Pompeo has said the Abraham Accords isolate Iran. The UAE has said that the accords help regional stability. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referenced the 2019 economic peace conference the US helped push in Bahrain. Manama's 2019 Dialogue conference also came in the wake of Netanyahu's trip to Oman in 2018. Netanyahu on November 18 said that three recent peace agreements were unprecedented.
The trip was widely covered in Israel. The foreign minister of Bahrain also gave an interview to Israel's Barak Ravid. Al-Zayani called the decision for peace "bold." He said Bahrain was a peaceful nation that believes in peace, dialogue and coexistence. Ahdeya Ahmed Al-Sayed wrote "As a Bahraini journalist, I need to thank all my colleagues and friends in the Israeli media and press for the way you all successfully promoted the meeting between Bahrain's Foreign Minister Dr Abdellatif AlZayani and Israeli Foreign Minister Gaby Ashkenazi n Jerusalem today."
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