Bahrain’s top diplomat, Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, is planning to visit Israel in the near future, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi announced Tuesday in the Knesset plenary.
Al-Zayani would be the tiny Gulf kingdom’s first minister to publicly visit the Jewish state.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat confirmed that the Bahraini diplomat is planning a visit, but did not provide more details
A spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry in Bahrain did not confirm that al-Zayani was headed to the Jewish state.
Ashkenazi spontaneously announced al-Zayani’s travel plans during a speech preceding a vote to approve Jerusalem’s establishment of diplomatic relations with Manama, diverting from his prepared remarks.
He thanked the administration of US President Donald Trump for brokering the Israel-Bahrain agreement, adding that we “must also thank the king of Bahrain, Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad and my counterpart Foreign Minister Al-Zayani), who will soon visit Israel.
“There is potential here to change our future beyond recognition. A new age is before us. An age of a different discourse, of peace and cooperation; of a new path in which there is a connecting line between the countries of the Middle East; a line of trade, tourism, transportation; of partnership and relations between human-being and human-being; between society and society, between business and business; not only between governments,” he said.
“This peace has great potential to be a warm peace. It is an opportunity to call on the Palestinians to join this dialogue and the path that we are beginning to chart. This is the time for a dialogue of unity and creating true peace. And yes, without preconditions,” Ashkenazi told the plenum.
To some extent, al-Zayani has been the public face of Bahrain’s normalization process with Israel. He signed the so-called Abraham Accords and a “Declaration of Peace” with Israel at the September 15 signing ceremony at the White House.
On October 25, he signed eight bilateral agreements, including a “Joint Communiqué on the establishment of diplomatic, peaceful, and friendly relations” with Israel during a ceremony in Manama.
“We salute the Israeli government for its responsiveness in realizing this historic step,” he said at the time.
Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa “believes in the importance of strengthening the values of tolerance and coexistence and mutual understanding between different cultures and religions,” the top diplomat said, especially in a region “whose peoples have suffered from many conflicts and struggles.”
“The Palestinian question must be solved through direct negotiations between the two sides to reach a solution which satisfies both parties and brings about a two-state solution, according to the principles of the Arab Peace Initiative and the relevant international law,” al-Zayani said.