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Bahrain denies Israel relations reports

Manama remains committed to Arab Peace Initiative

Gulf News

Manama: Bahrain has dismissed reports that it was establishing diplomatic relations with Israel as “mere allegations.”

An Israeli television report quoted an unnamed Bahraini official as telling them “exclusively” that Bahrain would be the first country in the Arabian Gulf to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.

“Bahrain does not view Israel as an enemy. Bahrain’s interest is the most important thing for Bahrain in the light of changes in the region. I believe that Bahrain will be the first Gulf state to establish diplomatic relations with Israel and this will not contradict the principles of Bahrain,” the official reportedly told i24 News. The broadcaster gave no details about the alleged official.

However, Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday evening said that no Bahraini official has made such a statement and insisted that the reports about diplomatic relations were “merely false allegations.”

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirms Bahrain’s full commitment to the unified Arab stance and to the Arab Peace Initiative, which set out the foundations of a comprehensive and just peace in the region,” the statement said.

Israel’s Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi told The Jerusalem Post that he was “not aware” or any concrete moves in that direction.

Reports about diplomatic relations with Israel surfaced as Bahrain is getting ready to host the World Heritage Committee organised by Unesco on June 24.

Under international events organised by the United Nations, the host country is obligated to welcome all representatives of UN member nations, regardless of their bilateral relations.

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