Bahrain brushes aside by receiving Pompeo rapid normalization with Israel

Manama (AFP) - The King of Bahrain on Wednesday reaffirmed to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on tour in the Middle East, that his country supports the creation of a Palestinian state, implicitly rejecting Washington's call to establish quickly relations with Israel.

The head of US diplomacy was in Manama, the third stop on a regional tour aimed at bringing Israel closer to Arab countries after the historic agreement to normalize relations between the Hebrew state and the United Arab Emirates.

According to the official BNA news agency, King Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa stressed during an interview with Pompeo "the importance of efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of a two-state solution".

What to guarantee according to him "a comprehensive and lasting solution in the Middle East which would lead to the creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with international law and the Arab peace initiative", which calls for withdrawal Israel from the Arab territories occupied since 1967 before any normalization.

Mr Pompeo tweeted that he spoke with Crown Prince Salman ben Hamad Al-Khalifa, "of the importance of strengthening peace and stability in the region, (...) to counter the malignant influence of Iran".

Bahrain and Israel share with other Arab countries in the region the same hostility towards Iran, which Manama accuses of instrumentalizing the Shiite community in Bahrain against the ruling Sunni dynasty.

The small kingdom, which has maintained contacts with Israel since the 1990s, was the first Gulf country to welcome the agreement between the Emirates and the Hebrew state.

In Israel on Monday, Pompeo said he was "optimistic" about the possibility of other Arab countries following the United Arab Emirates.

But on Tuesday it was met with a refusal from Sudan, whose government said it had no "mandate" to establish relations with Israel or not, until the end of the transition period in 2022.

Posted Date: 2020-09-21

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