Israeli delegation cancels talks at Bahrain conference

AFP , Sunday 14 Apr 2019

Israeli speakers scheduled to appear at a business conference in Bahrain next week have cancelled their talks over "security concerns", organisers said on Sunday.

At least three Israeli speakers, including the Israel Innovation Authority's deputy chief Anya Eldan, had been due to address the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Manama.

Their attendance at the four-day event that starts on Monday had been condemned by members of parliament in Bahrain, which does not recognise the Jewish state.

"While we advised the Israeli delegation they would be welcome, they decided this morning not to come due to security concerns and a wish not to cause disruption for the other 180 nations participating," said Jonathan Ortmans, founder and president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network.

Israel has official diplomatic relations with only two Arab states, neighbouring Egypt and Jordan.

Israel has long faced resistance to its efforts to improve ties with Arab nations because of its 50-year occupation of Arab territories.

In 2018, Bahrain hosted a UNESCO conference attended by an Israeli delegation.

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