Israel says it expects Bahrain and Oman to follow UAE to formalize relationship

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Bahrain and Oman could be the next Gulf countries to follow the United Arab Emirates to formalize relations with Israel, the Israeli intelligence minister said on Sunday.

FILE PHOTO: Palestinians take part in a demonstration against the UAE’s agreement with Israel to normalize relations, in Nablus, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, August 14, 2020. REUTERS / Raneen Sawafta

“Following this agreement (with the United Arab Emirates) will come additional agreements, both with more Gulf countries and with Muslim countries in Africa,” Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen said on radio. military.

“I think Bahrain and Oman are definitely on the agenda. Moreover, according to my assessment, there is a chance that already in the coming year there will be a peace agreement with other African countries, the main one, Sudan ”, he added. he said.

Bahrain and Oman hailed the UAE-Israel deal, though neither commented on their own prospects for normalized relations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met with Omani and Sudanese leaders over the past two years.

A senior US official said on Friday that the White House was in contact with “many” countries in the region, trying to see if other deals materialized.

The official declined to name the countries, but said they were Arab and Muslim nations in the Middle East and Africa.

On Thursday, Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced that they would normalize diplomatic relations and forge a new broad relationship.

The agreement, negotiated with the help of the United States, strengthens opposition to Iranian regional power. The Palestinians denounced the deal as a betrayal.

Israel signed peace accords with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. But the United Arab Emirates, like most other Arab countries, has not had formal diplomatic or economic relations with them.

Bahrain, a close ally of Saudi Arabia, hosted a senior Israeli official at a 2019 security conference as well as a US-led conference on reviving the Palestinian economy as part of the US President Donald Trump’s Middle East Peace Initiative.

Government sources in Kuwait have said its stance on Israel remains unchanged and that it will be the last country to normalize relations, local newspaper al-Qabas reported.

Reporting by Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem and Alexander Cornwell in Dubai; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Toby Chopra

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