Oct 16, 2020 - World

Scoop: Israel and Bahrain to sign diplomatic relations deal on Sunday

Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani (R) at the White House ceremony. Photo: The White House/Shealah Craighead via Getty Images

Israel and Bahrain will sign on Sunday a “joint communique on establishing peaceful and diplomatic relations” during a visit by a joint Israeli-U.S. delegation to Manama, Israeli and U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: The document that will be signed on Sunday is a significant step forward from the general “peace declaration” which was signed at the White House on September 15th, but still not of a full treaty like the one between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Behind the scenes: Sources briefed on the talks between the parties say the Bahrainis asked to sign a joint communique for now, rather than a full treaty. The Bahrainis want to move forward more gradually than the UAE due to domestic criticism in Bahrain against the normalization move.

The state of play: The “joint communique” will be signed by senior Israeli and Bahraini officials, with Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin and White House envoy Avi Berkowitz also present at the signing ceremony in Manama on Sunday.

Sources briefed on the 'joint communique” told me it will include those principles:

  • Israel and Bahrain will establish full diplomatic relations, open embassies and exchange ambassadors.
  • Both countries will not engage in any hostile actions against one another and will act to prevent those actions on their territories by third parties.
  • Both countries will commit to co-existence and to educating for peace.
  • Israel and Bahrain will sign agreements on: finance and investments, civil aviation, tourism, trade, science and technology, telecommunication, health care, agriculture, water, energy and legal cooperation.

What they're saying: "The aim of the communique is to start implementing the declaration which was signed in Washington, put more meat into it, make it more detailed and define the principles of the relations between the countries. It will be the umbrella for all bilateral agreements to be signed in the next several months," a source briefed on the plans said.

What’s next: Israeli officials say the “joint communique” is expected to be approved by the cabinet and possibly also by the Knesset, as the UAE treaty was on Thursday.

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