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Israel expects $220m in non-defence trade with Bahrain in 2021

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Bahraini Minister for Foreign Affairs Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani (R) greet each other with an elbow bump ahead of their meeting at the Prime Ministry Office in West Jerusalem on 18 November 2020. [Israeli Prime Ministry/Handout - Anadolu Agency]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Bahraini Minister for Foreign Affairs Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani (R) greet each other with an elbow bump ahead of their meeting at the Prime Ministry Office in West Jerusalem on 18 November 2020. [Israeli Prime Ministry/Handout - Anadolu Agency]

Israel foresees $220 million in non-defence trade with Bahrain in 2021, the Economy Ministry said on Wednesday as it hosted a delegation from the Gulf state to cement newly established ties, Reuters reports.

Bahrain and neighbour the United Arab Emirates normalised relations with Israel on Sept. 15, a US-brokered pact motivated by business prospects as well as shared worries about Iran.

Meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Bahrain's minister for industry, commerce and tourism, Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani, said he saw an "immense opportunity to even develop (ties) further, not just in terms of business – in terms of culture, sport, exchange, tourism".

The Economy Ministry trade forecast anticipated growth in Israeli exports to Bahrain of diamonds and refined metals for chemicals, and of imports of oil and aluminium from Bahrain.

A Sept. 13 memorandum by Israel's Intelligence Ministry said that Bahrain, where a Sunni Muslim minority rules a sometimes restive Shi'ite majority population, "may voice interest in (acquiring) Israeli military and security technologies".

Manama has not commented on this. Israel does not publish country-specific defence export data.

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