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Israel and Bahrain sign agreement on establishing diplomatic relations

MANAMA, Bahrain – Israel and Bahrain signed an agreement to establish diplomatic relations in Manama on Sunday, a month after a historic White House ceremony.

Why it matters: The “Joint Communication on the Establishment of Peaceful and Diplomatic Relations” is a temporary agreement on the path to a comprehensive peace agreement, paving the way for the two countries to open embassies and sign more cooperation agreements.

Status of the game: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House envoy Avi Berkowitz were present at the signing along with Bahrain’s foreign minister and Israel’s national security adviser.

  • Mnuchin and Berkowitz arrived in Manama with an Israeli delegation on the first direct flight of an Israeli passenger plane to Bahrain ̵
    1; El Al Flight 973, a reference to Bahrain’s telephone code.
  • Israeli and Bahraini officials held talks for several hours, signing eight memoranda of understanding on visas, trade, agriculture, investment, direct flights, financing and investment.
  • Mnuchin stood by when officials signed the MOUs along with the agreement on diplomatic relations.

What they say: “Today is only a first step for Israel, Bahrain and the United States and an important step to strengthen the stability of the region. We have a great opportunity in security, trade, travel and in many other areas,” Mnuchin said.

What’s next: Minutes after the signing ceremony, a senior Israeli Foreign Minister Bahraini Foreign Minister handed out a diplomatic note with a formal request to open an Israeli embassy in Manama. Israeli officials told me they would open the new embassy before the end of the year.

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