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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.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."

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