Oman welcomes Bahrain-Israel normalization decision

Oman welcomes Bahrain-Israel normalization decision

RIYADH (RAHNUMA): 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.

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