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Bahrain FM to Israeli counterpart: We have chosen peace and dialogue

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid holds a press conference with his Bahraini counterpart, Abdullatif Al Zayani in Manama, Bahrain, on September 30, 2021. (Lazar Berman)
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid holds a press conference with his Bahraini counterpart, Abdullatif Al Zayani in Manama, Bahrain, on September 30, 2021. (Lazar Berman)

MANAMA — In a statement at a press conference with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani stresses his country’s desire to “broaden and deepen cooperation across a range of sectors,” and says that Bahrain has chosen “peace and dialogue as a strategic option.”

“Your visit builds on the considerable progress we have made over the last year, and underlines our joint desire to spread peace and stability across the Middle East,” says Zayani. He also reaffirms “Bahrain’s genuine commitment to building warm peace and cooperation with Israel.”

Zayani then turns to the Palestinians, emphasizing the “crucial importance” of a two-state solution that reflects “the rights, interests and aspirations of all parties.” He adds that “Bahrain continues to call on all sides and the international community to achieve this goal.”

In response to a question from a Bahraini journalist, Lapid says he is “a devoted supporter of the two-state solution,” adding that he thinks “it’s the right solution for the people of Israel and for the Palestinian people as well.” But he notes that he thinks it is unfeasible at this moment in time, and that he supports improving the standard of living of the Palestinians in the meantime as well as “doing no harm.”

In regards to those comments, Lapid emphasizes that he is speaking as leader of the Yesh Atid party and not as a spokesman for the government.

In his own remarks, Lapid calls for deepening “economic, security, diplomatic and civilian” ties with Bahrain.

“We will do everything to turn the partnership between Bahrain and Israel into a harmony, of cultures and religions,” says Lapid. “And primarily, a harmony between people.”

“We are both tough peoples,” adds the foreign minister. “We made life flourish in the heart of the desert.”

Alluding to the shared concern over the Iranian threat, Lapid continues: “Our opportunities are shared. Our threats are also shared, and they aren’t far from here.”

Lapid says the global battle today is between “a culture of life, against a culture of death and destruction,” returning to a familiar theme of his.

“Together with our friends in the Gulf, we are leading a brave coalition of moderates,” he says. “A coalition that is looking forward and creating a prosperous future of stability and tolerance.”

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