Oman welcomes Bahrain-Israel normalization decision

Oman's Sultan Haitham bin Tariq at al-Alam palace in Muscat, Oman February 21, 2020. (Supplied)
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Updated 14 September 2020

Oman welcomes Bahrain-Israel normalization decision

  • Israel’s intelligence minister said a few days after the UAE-Israel accord was announced on Aug. 13 that Oman could also formalize ties with the country

DUBAI, JERUSALEM: Oman welcomes Bahrain’s decision to normalize relations with Israel and hopes it will contribute to Israeli-Palestinian peace, Oman state media said on Sunday.
Bahrain on Friday became the second Gulf country to normalize ties with Israel after the UAE said they would do so a month ago.
“(Oman) hopes this new strategic path taken by some Arab countries will contribute to bringing about a peace based on an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and on establishing an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as capital,” the government statement said.
Israel’s intelligence minister said a few days after the UAE-Israel accord was announced on Aug. 13 that Oman could also formalize ties with the country. Oman has welcomed the UAE and Bahraini decisions but has not commented on its own prospects for normalized relations.
In 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Oman and discussed peace initiatives in the Middle East with then-Omani leader Sultan Qaboos.
In a turbulent region, Oman has maintained its neutrality. It has kept friendly relations with a range of regional actors.

Direct flights
A deal establishing relations between Israel and Bahrain will result in direct flights between the countries, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.
“There will be brisk and direct air traffic between the countries,” he said in remarks to the Israeli Cabinet, a transcript of which was issued by his office.
Cooperation
The UAE’s Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) and Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science have agreed to work together, UAE state news agency WAM said on Sunday.
The MoU is the first signed between Israeli and the UAE’s higher education bodies, WAM said, intending to “advance the development and use of artificial intelligence as a tool for progress.”
 Spheres of possible collaboration include academic exchanges, conferences, sharing computing resources, and the establishment of a joint virtual institute for artificial intelligence, WAM said. MBZUAI was founded in 2019.


Turkey irked over joint declaration by Cyprus, Greece and Egypt

Updated 23 October 2020

Turkey irked over joint declaration by Cyprus, Greece and Egypt

  • The joint statement also asked Turkey to accept Cyprus’ invitation to enter negotiations for an agreement on maritime delimitations

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday slammed a joint statement by Greece, Cyprus and Egypt that condemns Turkish energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean and numerous “provocations” that they maintain are threatening regional peace.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it “fully rejected the declaration containing baseless accusations and allegations.”
During a trilateral regional summit on Wednesday in Nicosia, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis urged Ankara to end its “aggressive” actions.
The joint statement also asked Turkey to accept Cyprus’ invitation to enter negotiations for an agreement on maritime delimitations. Greece and Cyprus have signed maritime border agreements with Egypt while dismissing a similar deal that Ankara signed with Libya’s Tripoli-based government as “legally invalid.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the declaration attacked Ankara rather than supporting peace and stability in the region. It repeated Turkey’s position that cooperation could only take place with the inclusion of Turkish Cypriots in governing and sharing the resources of the ethnically divided island nation.
“We will continue with determination to protect our rights and the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the eastern Mediterranean,” the ministry statement said.
The trilateral summit took place amid high tensions between nominal NATO allies Greece and Turkey over maritime borders and energy rights.
In late summer, Turkey dispatched a research vessel escorted by warships to conduct seismic research in a part of the Mediterranean Sea that Greece claims as its territory, which prompted the Greek government to deploy its own warships.
Turkey pulled the research ship back to shore for several weeks for maintenance and to allow time for diplomacy but redeployed the Oruc Reis on a new energy exploration mission. A maritime announcement by Turkey says the Oruc Reis and two other ships would continue working in the area until Oct. 27.
Turkey also has had ships prospecting for oil and gas reserves in waters that Cyprus claims as its exclusive economic zone.