Publication Date: 
Wed, 2002-08-21 03:00

MANAMA, 21 August - Bahrain King Sheikh Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa's visit to Iran on Saturday and Sunday was 'a success' and it raised hopes for greater stability in the Gulf region, said Bahraini analysts yesterday.

Jalil Omar, editor of the English daily Bahrain Tribune, wrote in a front page editorial yesterday: "Today bonds between Bahrain and Iran are stronger and underpinned by mutual respect and understanding." Described by both the Bahraini and the Iranian officials as 'historic', Sheikh Hamad's visit to Iran was the first by a Bahraini monarch in more than two decades.

The visit has consolidated the normalization process between the two neighbors, initiated since the exchange of ambassadors three years ago.

The king and Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, who held two rounds of talks, have agreed to set up two high-level committees, political and economical, to enhance bilateral ties. The two sides also expressed their intention to sign a security agreement "in near future.

"The visit, closely monitored by the international community and warmly applauded by all peace-loving nations, has indeed shown how two neighbors can work together to face challenges and problems and resolve them through commitment and determination," Omar said.

Issa Shayeji, editor in chief of the daily Al Ayyam, said the visit's final joint communiqué reflects both sides' determination "to embark on a new era of extensive coordination," politically and economically.

"The announcement of the soon-to-be-signed security agreement was only one of the historic... results of the historic visit," he wrote in an editorial yesterday.

Reactivating the maritime line between the two neighbors was also an equally important result of the landmark visit, a senior economic official said. (GN)

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