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February 3, 2022 11:58 am

Israel’s Gantz Signs ‘Historic’ Agreement With Bahrain for Security Cooperation

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Bahrain’s Minister of Defense Affairs Abdullah Bin Hassan Al Noaimi. Photo: Ariel Hermoni / Ministry of Defense

Israel’s defense minister Benny Gantz on Thursday signed a “historic” security memorandum of understanding with his Bahraini counterpart, Minister of Defense Affairs Abdullah Bin Hassan Al Noaimi to formalize defense relations between the two countries.

The deal marks Israel’s second defense agreement established with an Arab country, following an MOU signed with Morocco in November. It comes after Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in Sept. 2020 agreed to formalize their diplomatic ties with Israel under the so-called “Abraham Accords,” brokered with the help of the US.

“We have reached new heights today in Israel-Bahrain relations with the important meetings that took place and with the signing of the historic MOU,” Gantz said. “Only one year following the signing of the Abraham Accords, we have achieved an important defense agreement, which will contribute to the security of both countries and the stability of the region.”

The agreement, signed at the Bahrain Defense Forces headquarters in Manama in presence of Commander-in-Chief of the Bahrain Defense Force Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, will “support any future cooperation in the areas of intelligence, military training, industrial collaboration and more,” Israel’s defense ministry said.

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Following the agreement ceremony, Gantz met with Bahraini Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa and with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in the royal palace.

“We deepened ties, expanded the scope of the Abraham Accords, and shown that we stand united in facing challenges and opportunities,” Gantz said.

Israel’s defense chief emphasized that future defense cooperation will contribute to regional stability in the face of “emerging threats in the region, and terror groups that continue to strengthen technologically and militarily.”

Earlier on Thursday, Gantz alongside an Israeli delegation visited the US Navy Fifth Fleet’s headquarters in Bahrain as part of an unannounced two-day visit to the Kingdom. He was hosted by US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), Vice Admiral Brad Cooper and Bahraini Minister of Defense Affairs Abdullah Bin Hassan Al Nuaimi to discuss challenges and opportunities for regional maritime security cooperation.

“Deepening cooperation will enable us to maintain regional stability and to defend the common interests of Israel, the United States and Bahrain,” Gantz said.

The meetings with high-ranking officials in the Bahraini defense establishment and with the Kingdom’s leadership come amid heightened tensions in the Gulf and drone and missile attacks on the UAE.

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