Pompeo calls opening of embassies ‘a truly historic step’ in Middle East peace.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
Israel and Bahrain announced Wednesday that the countries will open embassies in each other’s countries.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani were joined by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for trilateral talks on how to exploit the new peace treaties Israel signed recently with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
At a joint press conference held at his official residence, a visibly pleased Netanyahu thanked President Donald Trump and his administration for “advancing this historic peace.”
“Three peace agreements in six weeks – I don’t think it gets better than that,” Netanyahu said, citing the recent deals to establish diplomatic relations with the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan.
Netanyahu praised Trump for brokering the Abraham Accords that were signing at the White House in September, saying, “very frankly, this day would not have happened, these Abraham Accords would not have been signed without President Trump’s crucial support and leadership.”
The prime minister said the peace between Israel and Bahrain “is built on solid foundations of mutual appreciation and shared interests … Like Israel, Bahrain is small in size, but big in aspirations.”
Al-Zayani told Netanyahu he was “optimistic for the future.”
“We will soon witness the reciprocal opening of the two country’s embassies,” Al-Zayani said. “This emerging cooperation between Bahrain and Israel will pave the way to a dawn of peace for the entire Middle East.”
Pompeo arrived in Israel earlier in the day on a seven-country, 11-day tour that began Friday and takes him to talks in France, Turkey, Georgia, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
“It is great to be back in Jerusalem … the rightful capital of the Jewish homeland,” Pompeo said, emphasizing the Trump administration’s move of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“These [peace] agreements are important for so many reasons. They are important to the whole world. Indeed as I travel the world, countries that you might not expect are thankful for the work that Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Israel are going to do together,” Pompeo said.
The Secretary also added a warning to Iran, which threatened the Gulf Arab states for making peace with Israel, a country that Iran’s leaders have sworn to “annihilate.”
“These agreements also tell malign actors like the Islamic Republic of Iran that their influence in the region is waning, and that they are every more isolated and shall forever be until they change their direction,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo praised the two countries for quickly moving to exchange letters “that will enable the opening of embassies in each respective country – a truly historic step.”
“You are proving wrong those who say the vision can’t come to light,” Pompeo said.
Bahrain calls for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks
Al-Zayani praised the peace deal with Israel, but also brought up the Palestinian issue, saying in order to consolidate peace the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had to be resolved.
“I therefore call for both parties to get around the negotiating table, to achieve a viable two-state solution as is also sought by the international community,” Al-Zayani said.
The Foreign Minister said he is “convinced that we have an opportunity to build cooperation, tolerance, coexistence and trust, not only between our two nations, but between all children of Abraham,” Al-Zayani said, referring to the three Abrahamic religions Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
Although the Trump Administration is in the traditional lame-duck period following the Nov. 3 election, Pompeo’s trip is seen by observes as his last chance for wide-ranging influence and publicity for a possible presidential run in 2024.
His final stop will be in Saudi Arabia to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman before returning to the U.S. on Nov. 23 in time for Thanksgiving.