Israel UN envoy speaks to Bahraini counterpart in 1st public contact since deal

Gilad Erdan talks to Bahrain’s ambassador to the United Nations about cooperating on economic projects; says ‘rules of the game’ changing at world body

Likud's Gilad Erdan in Jerusalem, May 18, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Likud's Gilad Erdan in Jerusalem, May 18, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, spoke on Friday with his Bahraini counterpart, Jamal Alrowaiei, in the first direct and publicly announced contact between top officials from the two countries following their normalization agreement.

The two spoke on a phone call Friday afternoon, shortly after the deal was announced by US President Donald Trump, Erdan said.

Erdan and Alrowaiei congratulated each other on the establishment of relations between their countries, and agreed to meet to discuss cooperating at the UN on innovation and economic development, Erdan’s office said in a statement.

Jamal Alrowaiei, Bahrain’s Ambassador to the UN (Courtesy)

“The widening circle of peace can lead to a change in the rules of the game at the UN as well. We are entering a new era in which we can act together publicly for security and economic prosperity for Israel and Arab countries,” Erdan said.

Bahrain became the second Gulf country to establish open ties with Israel in less than a month, following the neighboring United Arab Emirates.

Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, then-secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, speaks during a press conference following the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Dec.10, 2019. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Israel and the UAE announced they were normalizing relations on August 13, and a signing ceremony for their accord is being held at the White House on September 15.

Bahrain will now join that ceremony, with its foreign minister Abdullatif Al Zayani and Netanyahu signing “a historic Declaration of Peace,” the joint statement said.

A joint statement released by the White House said Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Salman al-Khalifa spoke earlier in the day with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “and agreed to the establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain.”

Netanyahu hailed the agreement as part of a “new era of peace” and predicted more accords would follow.

Erdan is a former senior minister from Netanyahu’s Likud party who arrived in New York last month. He is also set to replace Ron Dermer as Ambassador to the US after the inauguration of the next US administration in January.

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