Middle East/North Africa

Mnuchin joins Israeli delegation in Bahrain to formally normalize relations

Greg Nash

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was present Sunday for the formal establishment of relations between Israel and Bahrain in Manama, Bahrain’s capital.

Bahrain became the latest Gulf state to formalize relations with Israel after the United Arab Emirates did the same in September.

The push has come as numerous Arab states seek to isolate Iran in the region. It has also caused consternation among Palestinians, who had called on the states to refuse to recognize Israel until they secured a state of their own.

Mnuchin accompanied the Israeli delegation from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport, Reuters reported. The treasury secretary told reporters the accord was “just the beginning of the work that is going forward.”

“I think the opportunity is way beyond just investments,” Mnuchin told reporters on the flight. “It’s in technology, building various different businesses – and in the case of Bahrain as well, really expanding the opportunities for them quite, quite, quite dramatically.”

Mnuchin and other U.S. officials are set to travel to the UAE Monday and join the nation’s first delegation to Israel Tuesday, according to Reuters.

The deal between the two countries is set to allow nearly 20 commercial flights weekly between Ben Gurion airport, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Although Saudi Arabia has not joined the Gulf nations establishing ties with Israel, it has reversed a longstanding policy and allowed Israeli flights over the country.

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