An Israeli delegation accompanied by the US treasury secretary flew to Bahrain on Sunday to formalise nascent relations and broaden Gulf cooperation that Washington has promoted as an anti-Iran bulwark and potential economic bonanza, Reuters reports.
Bahrain followed the United Arab Emirates in agreeing last month to normalise ties with Israel, stunning Palestinians who had demanded statehood before any such regional rapprochement.
The breakthrough, overseen by US President Donald Trump, is a foreign policy flourish ahead of his reelection bid next month. For the US allies, it is a chance to close ranks on Iran more overtly.
The Israeli delegation, which boarded an El Al Israel Airlines charter flight to Manama, was accompanied by US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. His office said the mission seeks “expanded economic cooperation” among Israel, Bahrain and the UAE.
At a ceremony with Mnuchin at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, US Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz said that Israel and Bahrain would sign a joint communique “bringing forward tourism and banking and diplomatic relations”.
Also speaking at the airport ceremony, the head of the Israeli delegation, National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, said talks would also focus on sectors such as finance and aviation.