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Bahrain FM to Asharq Al-Awsat: Relations with Israel Do Not Undermine Commitment to Peace Initiative

Bahrain FM to Asharq Al-Awsat: Relations with Israel Do Not Undermine Commitment to Peace Initiative

Sunday, 13 September, 2020 - 05:15
Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Dr. Abdul Latif al-Zayani. (Getty Images)

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Dr. Abdul Latif al-Zayani underlined on Saturday the Kingdom’s “firm and constant” stance towards the rights of the fraternal Palestinian people.

These rights top the Kingdom’s priorities, he told Asharq Al-Awsat in an exclusive interview as Bahrain announced Friday it had reached a US-brokered agreement to normalize relations with Israel.

He stressed that the deal is in line with the vision of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa to spread peace in the world.

The agreement, Zayani went on to say, does not undermine the 2002 Arab peace initiative.

How do you assess the future Bahraini-Israeli relations in wake of the peace agreement?

The step is in line with King Hamad’s vision to spread the culture of peace in the world. It is also in line with his directives to intensify efforts to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict according to the peace initiative. Bahrain always stresses its firm and constant position towards the rights of the fraternal Palestinian people, which are at the top of its priorities. The Palestinian people must obtain their complete legitimate rights.

Some believe, however, that normalizing ties with Israel will pave the way for other Arab concessions.

On the contrary, Bahrain stresses that it will not abandon Arab principles. Palestinian rights are the most important of these principles. Bahrain has long advocated the policy of peace and coexistence. Peace is the best strategic choice to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Precedents throughout history demonstrate that all of the Kingdom’s initiatives and decisions favor the interests of the Palestinian people. No one can challenge the Kingdom in this regard.

What happens now to the Arab peace initiative after Bahrain will normalize ties with Israel?

Establishing diplomatic relations with Israel does not contradict with Bahrain’s commitment to the Arab peace initiative and international resolutions. Bahrain is a sovereign nation and it takes its decisions based on its national and Arab principles and its higher security interests. Among those principles are the Palestinian rights that cannot be abandoned.

Bahrain had from the start announced its support to the agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel. Was this paving the way for the peace announcement between Bahrain and Israel?

Bahrain is adding its efforts to those of the UAE in defending the causes and interests of the ummah and in supporting the Palestinians to obtain their rights. We highly appreciate the leading Emirati role in adopting diplomatic ties as a form of strategic solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. For us, we underscore Bahrain’s support for all Arab partners in reaching a peaceful solution that protects the interests of all Palestinians. We believe that the declaration of peace between Bahrain and Israel creates better opportunities for the Palestinian people in establishing an independent, stable and prosperous state.

What is the Palestinian Authority’s position on the declaration of peace between Bahrain and Israel?

I want to express my great appreciation to the Palestinian leadership, its firm stances and constant efforts in safeguarding the Palestinian people’s rights and working on achieving their legitimate interests. As for Bahrain, it underlines its commitment to its efforts to empower the Palestinian people so that they can achieve their aspirations like all other peoples in the world.

Do you expect more peace agreements to be declared soon between countries in the region and Israel?

As I said before, every country has its own sovereignty and takes its decisions based on its principles and higher interests. For Bahrain, we will continue to spread the culture of peace and peaceful coexistence and shun violence. We believe this is a historic step as part of its efforts to achieve global peace. I would like to point out that countries that have established relations with Israel have not decreased their support for Palestinian rights. Strategic priorities are determined by each country to achieve their interests.

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