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Bahrain, Israel agree to set up embassies in Jerusalem meet

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JERUSALEM: Bahrain’s foreign minister called for fresh Israeli-Palestinian peace talks during a landmark meeting on Wednesday in Israel with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Pompeo — President Donald Trump’s top diplomat, on a farewell visit to close ally Israel — did not address Israel’s dispute with the Palestinians, who have protested his planned trip on Thursday to a Jewish-owned business in the occupied West Bank.

Bahrain’s Abdellatif al-Zayani said the historic US-brokered deals the Gulf kingdom and the United Arab Emirates had struck to normalise ties with Israel would help foster a dawn of “peace for the entire Middle East”.

“To achieve and consolidate such a peace, the Palestinian and Israeli conflict needs to be resolved,” the minister said as Pompeo and Netanyahu stood by at a joint press conference.

“I therefore call for both parties to get around the negotiating table to achieve a viable two-state solution,” said Bahrain’s first minister on an official visit to Jerusalem, where both sides agreed to set up embassies in each others’ countries.

Pompeo has no scheduled meetings with Palestinian leaders, who have strongly rejected Trump’s stance on the conflict, including Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

Pompeo instead stressed the need to work together to isolate common foe Iran, which the US Treasury targeted with new sanctions the same day.

Iran is “ever more isolated and this shall forever be until they change their direction,” Pompeo said.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2020

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