Bahrain has joined the United Arab Emirates in striking an agreement to normalize relations with Israel, President Donald Trump said on Friday, a dramatic move aimed at easing tensions in the Middle East.
Trump tweeted out the news after he spoke by phone to both Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said.
Trump also tweeted: “Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain agree to a Peace Deal – the second Arab country to make peace with Israel in 30 days!”
“This is a historic breakthrough to further peace in the Middle East,” the United States, Bahrain and Israel said in a joint statement.
“Opening direct dialog and ties between these two dynamic societies and advanced economies will continue the positive transformation of the Middle East and increase stability, security, and prosperity in the region,” it said.
Netanyahu says the agreement marks a “new era of peace.”
“For many long years, we invested in peace, and now peace will invest in us, will bring about truly major investments in Israel’s economy – and that is very important,” Netanyahu said in a video statement.
On Thursday and Friday many speculated that another country would join the UAE in normalizing ties with Israel.
“You’ll be hearing other countries coming in over a relatively short period of time. And you could have peace in the Middle East,” Trump told a White House news conference on Thursday.
Trump is going to host a signing ceremony next Tuesday that will include delegations with Israel and the UAE. His negotiators have been trying to get other Gulf nations, such as Bahrain and Oman, to join in normalizing relations with Israel.
“Next week at the White House we’ll be having a signing between the UAE and Israel, and we could have another country added into that. And I will tell you that countries are lining up that want to go into it,” Trump said.
“I think what ultimately will happen is you’re going to have quite a few countries come in. The big ones are going to be coming in. I spoke to the king of Saudi Arabia, so we’re talking. We just started the dialog. And you’ll have them come in,” he said.
The Saudi Embassy in Washington did not respond to a query on whether the Saudi ambassador or another Saudi representative would attend next week’s signing ceremony at the White House.
Bahrain is where the White House held the June 2019 “Peace for Prosperity” economic conference, which various Israeli leaders attended.
Sheba’s director-general Prof. Yitshak Kreiss attended the “Peace for Prosperity” workshop in Bahrain and shared pictures on Facebook of his visit with Bahrain’s former Ambassador to the United States, Houda Nonoo. According to the post, “they discussed how healthcare and medical innovation can spur economic growth for the Middle East and Gulf regions.”