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Bahrain King Defends Decision To Formalise Ties With Israel

Bahrain King Defends Decision To Formalise Ties With Israel

Dubai, Sep 24 (AP) The king of the small island-nation of Bahrain used his appearance before world leaders to defend his nation's decision to formalise ties with Israel. In a prerecorded address for this year's virtual UN General Assembly, King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa also expressed support for an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital a position that Palestinians say is undermined by formalizing ties with Israel before concessions are made in peace talks..

Dubai, Sep 24 (AP) The king of the small island-nation of Bahrain used his appearance before world leaders to defend his nation’s decision to formalise ties with Israel. In a prerecorded address for this year’s virtual UN General Assembly, King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa also expressed support for an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital a position that Palestinians say is undermined by formalizing ties with Israel before concessions are made in peace talks.

Bahrain agreed to normalise relations with Israel two weeks ago following a similar move by the United Arab Emirates in August. The agreements, brokered and pushed by the Trump administration, have been slammed as acts of betrayal by the Palestinians. The king said a two-state solution is the way forward. This would usher in a new era of cooperation and good neighbourliness to build and promote common interests in the countries in the region, he said.

Gulf Arab states have been building ties with Israel, in part over shared concerns about rival Iran. The Sunni-ruled government of Bahrain accuses Iran of arming militants from among majority Shiites in the country and of plotting attacks on the island-nation, which is home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet in the Persian Gulf.

The Bahraini king commended the UAE’s decision to formalise ties with Israel as a courageous, successful and commendable step. He said the UAE’s move, which suspended Israeli annexation of occupied West Bank land sought by the Palestinians, promoted a chance for peace and opened a new page for people of the region. The Bahrain agreement with Israel included no such concessions. The speech by the king marks the first televised remarks on the deal by the monarch since it was announced September 11. The deal has been criticised by Bahraini opposition groups. (AP) .

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