Israel says formal diplomatic ties with Bahrain begin
Israel and Bahrain will officially establish diplomatic relations on Sunday at a ceremony in Manama, an Israeli official said, after the two states reached a US-brokered normalisation deal last month.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and special assistant for international negotiations, Avi Berkowitz, are due in Bahrain for the ceremony.
The official said he could not outline the substance of all the agreements scheduled for signature on Sunday, but security cooperation is likely to feature prominently in bilateral talks.
Earlier this month, Israel's Mossad spy agency chief Yossi Cohen held talks in Bahrain with top security and intelligence officials on "topics of mutual interest," according to the Bahrain News Agency.
- Significant shift -
The Palestinians have condemned the Gulf agreements with Israel as "a stab in the back" for their aspirations to establish an independent state of their own.
The deals mark a distinct shift in a decades-old status quo where Arab countries have tried to maintain unity against Israel over its treatment of the stateless Palestinians.
Israel's right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists that more Mideast states want ties with Israel as priorities have shifted, arguing that countries now value lucrative trade opportunities above the Palestinian conflict.
Israel's parliament on Thursday ratified the normalisation agreement with the UAE.
A separate vote on the Bahrain pact is expected once the details are finalised.