by Israel Hayom Staff
As Israeli team prepares to visit Gulf kingdom for a UNESCO conference, Bahraini official says relations with Israel would "not contradict the principles of Bahrain"
Local folk performers play Bahraini traditional music in Manama, BahrainPhoto: Reuters
Bahrain does not view Israel as an enemy, a Bahraini official said Tuesday in an interview with the i24News website.
The unnamed official spoke to i24News days before an Israeli delegation is scheduled to visit the islands nation for a meeting of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.
Israel and Bahrain do not maintain diplomatic relations, but because the event is organized by the U.N., Bahrain must allow Israel to attend.
However, the Bahraini official said that it was "important" for Israel to participate in the meeting, adding that Bahrain would be the first Gulf nation to establish formal ties with Israel.
He said that normalizing relations with Israel would "not contradict the principles of Bahrain."
In May, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa expressed support for an Israeli strike on an Iranian military target in Syria and said that Israel, like all Middle East nations, had a right to defend itself against Iranian aggression.
"As long as Iran has breached the status quo in the region and invaded countries with its forces and missiles, any state in the region, including Israel, is entitled to defend itself by destroying sources of danger," Al Khalifa said.
The Lebanese Daily Star newspaper called Al Khalifa's vocal support "a rare, if not unprecedented public stance by an Arab government."
Israel Hayom Staff
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