Watch: Bahraini, US Delegations Land In Israel On Gulf Air Flight

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FM Ashkenazi, left, welcomes Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani to Israel, November 18, 2020 (Miri Shimonovich/MFA)

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A Bahraini government delegation flew to Israel on Wednesday morning, the first official delegation to visit Israel on the first nonstop Gulf Air commercial flight from Bahrain to Israel.

The delegation, led by Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, and accompanied by a US delegation headed by US Mideast envoy Avi Berkowitz, landed at Ben-Gurion Airport at about 10:30 a.m.

The Bahraini-US delegations were greeted at the airport by Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

The Bahraini delegation traveled from the airport to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, where a meeting was held between Ashkenazi and Al-Zayani. Following the meeting, the two ministers announced that embassies in each other’s countries will be opened as soon as possible.

“I was pleased to convey to Minister Ashkenazi the Kingdom of Bahrain’s formal request to open an embassy in Israel, and to inform him that Israel’s reciprocal request for an embassy in Manama has been approved,” Al-Zayani said. “This is a process which I hope can now move forward relatively quickly.”

Ashkenazi announced that Bahraini citizens will be able to apply online for visas to Israel by December 1.

The meeting at the foreign ministry was followed by a reception for the Bahraini delegation hosted by President Reuven Rivlin at the President’s Residence.

Later, the Bahraini delegation was greeted at the Prime Minister’s Office, where Al-Zayani met one-on-one with Netanyahu followed by a trilateral meeting attended by top Bahraini and Israeli officials and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who landed in Israel early afternoon Wednesday.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, left, greets Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife Susan as they arrive at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. Pompeo is visiting Israel as part of a seven-nation trip to Europe and the Middle East. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

A number of bilateral agreements between Israel and Bahrain will be finalized during the course of the day on various areas of mutual cooperation, including aviation, technology, tourism, research, and health.

Al-Zayani will meet again with Ashkenazi at about 8 p.m and the Bahraini delegation will then fly back to Manama at about 10:30 p.m.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)