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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.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jan 23, 2021 - World

International nuclear weapons ban goes into force

Protesters celebrate the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in New York on Jan. 22. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

A UN treaty outlawing the existence of nuclear weapons went into effect on Friday.

Why it matters: The ban is chiefly symbolic, as neither the U.S. nor any other nuclear powers supported it. But moral statements should have meaning for weapons that, by their sheer indiscriminate power, are arguably immoral.

White House unveils plans for high-profile climate summit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Biden administration offered new details this morning about the big, virtual climate summit Thursday and Friday and signaled they expect new emissions reduction and climate finance commitments from multiple countries.

Driving the news: The administration said 40 heads of state would attend, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil.

DOJ announces sweeping probe into Minneapolis policing practices

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday announced that the Justice Department will open a sweeping investigation into whether the Minneapolis Police Department has a "pattern or practice" of discriminatory policing practices.

Why it matters: The federal probe, which will also examine MPD's handling of misconduct allegations against officers, could result in significant changes to policing in Minneapolis in the wake of George Floyd's murder.

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