A ‘new dawn’ as UAE and Bahrain sign Abraham Accord with Israel

A ‘new dawn’ as UAE and Bahrain sign Abraham Accord with Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Donald Trump, Bahrain foreign minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, and UAE foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed wave from the Truman Balcony at the White House after they signed the Abraham Accord. (AFP)
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Updated 16 September 2020

A ‘new dawn’ as UAE and Bahrain sign Abraham Accord with Israel

A ‘new dawn’ as UAE and Bahrain sign Abraham Accord with Israel
  • Trump oversees historic signing ceremony on White House's South Lawn
  • Emirati and Bahraini foreign ministers join Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

WASHINGTON: The UAE and Bahrain signed historic agreements with Israel today in a ceremony overseen by Donald Trump in Washington.

The Abraham Accord means the two Gulf countries joined Egypt and Jordan as the only Arab nations to have full relations with Israel.

The ceremony was attended by the UAE’s foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, the foreign minister of Bahrain and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu.

The signing took place on the South Lawn of the White House - the same place where Israeli and Palestinian leaders signed the Oslo Accords in 1993.

“I stand here today to extend a hand of peace and receive a hand of peace,” Sheikh Abdullah said.

Addressing Netanyahu, he said: “Thank you for choosing peace and halting the annexation of Palestinian territories.”

Al-Zayani described the accord as a historic step on the road to a “genuine and lasting peace.”

He said he hoped the agreement would lead to a “comprehensive and enduring two-state solution for the Palestinian people.”

During the signing ceremony, the parties inked the Abraham Accord document while the UAE and Israel signed a treaty of “peace, diplomatic relations and full normalization.”

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Bahrain, which only announced on Friday that an agreement had been reached, also signed a “declaration of peace” with Israel.

The UAE announced last month it had reached a deal with Israel to normalize relations in return for a promise not to annex large areas of the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

The two countries have already held talks across a range of areas of cooperation and an Israeli and American delegation visited Abu Dhabi for on Aug. 31. The group, which included Trump advisor Jared Kushner, arrived on the first commercial flight from Israel to the UAE.

Donald Trump opened Tuesday’s ceremony praising the leaders of Israel, the UAE and Bahrain for reaching agreements that he said would “serve as the foundation for a comprehensive peace across the entire region.”

“After decades of division and conflict we mark the dawn of a new Middle East,” Trump said. “We're here this afternoon to change the course of history.”

Earlier he said five or six more countries were ready to also open up relations with Israel.

Netanyahu called the day a “pivot of history that heralds a new dawn of peace.”

“Ultimately it can end the Arab-Israeli conflict once and for all,” he said.

The event was attended by 700 people including former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and former British premier Tony Blair.

Earlier, the UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, said the deal had “broken the psychological barrier” and was “the way forward” for the region.

Following the ceremony, Bahrain’s minister of transportation and telecommunications and Israel’s minister of transportation discussed cooperation, Bahrain’s state news agency (BNA) reported.


Bahrainis detained by Qatar return to kingdom

Bahrainis detained by Qatar return to kingdom
Updated 2 min 49 sec ago

Bahrainis detained by Qatar return to kingdom

Bahrainis detained by Qatar return to kingdom
  • The 3 were released by Qatari authorities on Thursday and arrived in Bahrain via Oman
  • They were arrested while fishing, Bahrain says they were in territorial waters

DUBAI: Three Bahrainis detained by Qatar have arrived back in the kingdom after Manama helped to extradite their release, the Bahrain News Agency reported on Friday.
Bodybuilding champion Sami Al-Haddad, his friend Mohammed Al-Dossari and fisherman Habib Abbas were released by Qatari authorities on Thursday after they were arrested by Qatari coast and border security while fishing at sea, in two separate incidents. Bahrain said that the three citizens were in the country’s territorial waters.
The three men thanked Bahrain’s King Hamad and Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad for the attention and care that they had received, which they said had a great impact on their release and return.
They also thanked the interior ministry, headed by Lt. Gen. Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah, and the foreign ministry, headed by Abdullatif Al-Zayani, for their efforts and the measures that contributed to their safe return.
The men said that they were proud to see the “patriotic interest they received for their cause,” both from the government and the Bahraini people.
Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its “profound thanks and gratitude to Oman for the efforts made by the authorities in the sultanate to coordinate and follow up on the release of Bahraini citizens detained in Qatar and to facilitate their return to Bahrain.”
The three arrived in Oman on Thursday following their release, the kingdom’s embassy in Muscat confirmed.
The ministry said that the release of the citizens by Qatar was “a step that reflects the spirit required toward resolving the outstanding issues between the two countries in order to enhance the process of cooperation between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.”
The statement also said that Bahrain hoped that Qatar would release Asian sailors who work on Bahraini fishing vessels, and take into account their humanitarian situation.
Bahrain, along with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, ended a three-year rift with Qatar on Jan. 5 following a GCC summit in the historic city of AlUla, formally restoring diplomatic relations and opening their land, sea and air borders.