Netanyahu and Bahrain crown prince have ‘very friendly’ first call since accord

PM hails ‘outstanding conversation’ with Salman bin Hamad, week after two countries signed Declaration of Peace

Raphael Ahren is a former diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Bahrain's Crown prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in Manama, Bahrain, November 11, 2016. (AP/Jon Gambrell)
Bahrain's Crown prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in Manama, Bahrain, November 11, 2016. (AP/Jon Gambrell)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday spoke to Bahrain’s crown prince, Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, in their first public conversation since Jerusalem and Manama signed a historic “Declaration of Peace” in Washington last week.

During the call, the crown prince “underscored the importance of securing regional and international stability and enhancing efforts to support peace in the region,” according to the state-run Bahrain News Agency. Salman further noted that “the agreement signed at the White House on September 15 will strengthen regional security, stability and prosperity.”

Netanyahu and the future king of the tiny island nation also “reviewed potential areas of bilateral cooperation and relevant regional and international developments,” according to the agency.

Netanyahu later released a statement saying that he left important discussions about Israel’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic to take the crown prince’s call, which he called an “important national need.”

The prime minister said he and Salman had an “outstanding conversation, very friendly.”

The two leaders reiterated the content of the so-called Abraham Accords that both nations signed last week, and discussed “how we might quickly add content to the agreements between Bahrain and Israel and turn this peace into economic peace, technological peace, tourist peace, peace in all of these fields,” he said in a statement. “You will hear about the practical steps very soon.”

Salman, 50, has been Bahrain’s crown prince since 1999. He also holds the positions of deputy supreme commander, first deputy prime minister and chairman of Bahrain’s Economic Development Board.

On September 11, US President Donald Trump surprisingly announced that Bahrain was following the United Arab Emirates in normalizing ties with Israel.

Four days later, Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani and Netanyahu signed a “Declaration of Peace” in which both countries committed to “open an era of friendship and cooperation in pursuit of a Middle East region that is stable, secure and prosperous for the benefit of all states and peoples in the region.”

US President Donald Trump watches as Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani speaks from the Truman Balcony at the White House during the signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords, September 15, 2020. (SAUL LOEB / AFP)

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