King of Bahrain Congratulates the UAE on Deal With Israel

Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa described the agreement as a 'historic step for peace,' and according to the White House is next to normalize relations with Israel

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Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa at a ceremony in Safria palace in Sakhir, south of Manama, Bahrain, March 20, 2012.
Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa at a ceremony in Safria palace in Sakhir, south of Manama, Bahrain, March 20, 2012. Credit: REUTERS
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Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa has "congratulated" the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) de-facto ruler, Mohammed bin Zayed, on his deal to normalize ties with Israel, calling it "historic," Bahrain's state news agency said on Saturday.

The UAE and Israel announced on Thursday a US-brokered agreement to establish full diplomatic ties in return for Israel suspending a controversial plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

The deal makes the UAE the third Arab country after Egypt and Jordan and the first Arab Gulf state to have diplomatic links with Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed and US President Donald Trump hailed the agreement as "historic," while the Palestinians and some countries including Iran and Turkey decried it as a "betrayal."

In a telephone call, the Bahraini monarch described the UAE-Israeli pact as a "historic step for peace," saying it will boost peace efforts and stability in the Middle East, according to the agency. King Hamad also said the deal preserves a two-state formula that envisages a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

On Thursday, Bahrain was the first in a six-nation energy-rich Gulf bloc allied with the US to hail the deal. Bahrain is home to the US 5th Fleet.

At a White House press briefing on Thursday, officials said that Oman and Bahrain would be the next countries to normalize relations with Israel.

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