In Bahrain, national security adviser says ‘Israel extends its hands for genuine peace’

Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al- Zayani welcomes the joint US-Israeli delegation to Bahrain.

“Today, we build on that historic occasion at the White House last month,” Al-Zayani says, referring to last month’s signing ceremony of the Israeli-Bahraini “Declaration of Peace” and the Abraham Accords.

He calls for a “genuine and lasting peace, one which safeguards the rights of the Middle East’s peoples,” saying engagement and cooperation are the most effective ways of achieving this.

“Today, we put in place the foundations through which we can reach this goal, establishing a practical framework to advance both our bilateral cooperation and our ongoing partnership our countries enjoy with the United States of America,” Al-Zayani says.

He adds: “My hope is that this visit marks another step forward on the road to a truly peaceful, secure, stable and thriving Middle East.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who is heading the US delegation, says he’s happy to be back in Bahrain for this “very, very important occasion.”

Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat opens his speech in Arabic.

“Israel extends its hands for genuine peace with the Bahraini people. Together we will change the reality in the region for the benefit of our nations. God willing, we will host you in Israel soon,” he says.

Switching to Hebrew, Ben-Shabbat notes the Knesset approved the Israel-UAE peace treaty three days ago. He says this delegation, like the previous one to UAE, flew nonstop flight from Tel Aviv and hopes this route will become a regular route in the near future. He thanks Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa for making peace.

“In a certain sense, this visit today closes a circle for Bahrain’s role in bringing peace,” Ben-Shabbat says, presumably referring to last year’s Peace to Prosperity conference in Manama.

He quotes from the Book Genesis: “‘Let there be light, and there was light. And the Eternal One saw it was good.’ Let us bring light, and expand good.”

He says that Bahrain and Israel have a lot in common — both are small in territory and population, but both have a pioneering spirit.

— Raphael Ahren and Michael Bachner

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