Bahrain recommits to two-state solution despite push for Israel deal

AFP , Wednesday 26 Aug 2020

A handout picture released by Bahrain's official news agency (BNA) on August 26, 2020, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) meeting with Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa (R) upon his arrival in the capital Manama. AFP

Bahrain said Wednesday it was committed to the creation of a Palestinian state in talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, implicitly rejecting his push for Arab countries to swiftly normalise ties with Israel.

Pompeo was in Manama as part of a Middle East trip aimed at building more ties between Israel and the Arab world after a landmark US-brokered deal with the United Arab Emirates.

However, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa said he told Pompeo that his country remains committed to the Arab Peace Initiative -- which calls for Israel's complete withdrawal from the Palestinian territories occupied after 1967, in exchange for peace and the full normalisation of relations.

"The king stressed the importance of intensifying efforts to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict according to the two-state solution... to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital," the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.

The US chief diplomat has said he is hopeful other nations will follow the UAE, which earlier this month became the third Arab country to agree to normalise relations Israel. 

Manama  was the first Gulf country to welcome the UAE move and was considered a front-runner to follow in its footsteps.

Like most Gulf countries, Bahrain shares with Israel a common enemy in Iran, which Manama accuses of instigating protests by the nation's Shiite Muslim community against the ruling Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online. 

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