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Israel says it Expects Bahrain and Oman to Follow UAE in Formalising Ties

Bahrain and Oman could be the next Gulf countries to follow the United Arab Emirates in formalising ties with Israel, Israel’s intelligence minister said on Sunday.

Israel and the UAE announced on Thursday that they will normalise diplomatic relations, reshaping Middle East politics from the Palestinian issue to the fight against Iran.

“In the wake of this agreement will come additional agreements, both with more Gulf countries and with Muslim countries in Africa,” Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen told Army Radio.

“I think that Bahrain and Oman are definitely on the agenda. In addition, in my assessment, there is a chance that already in the coming year there will be a peace deal with additional countries in Africa, chief among them, Sudan,” he said.

Both Bahrain and Oman praised the U.S.-sponsored accord, but neither have commented on their own prospects for normalised relations or responded to requests for comment on the subject.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met with Omani and Sudanese leaders in the past two years, including a visit to Oman in October 2018.

“I expect more countries will be joining us in the peace circle,” Netanyahu told cabinet ministers on Sunday, according to a statement from his office.

“This is a historic change which advances peace with the Arab world and will eventually advance a real, sober and secure peace with the Palestinians,” he said.

The UAE-Israel deal firms up opposition to regional power Iran. The Palestinians denounced the deal as a betrayal.

UAE and Israeli foreign ministers held their first publicly-acknowledged call on Sunday after the Gulf state opened telephone lines to Israel.

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