07:31 GMT22 October 2020
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    The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain formally normalised relations with Israel at a ceremony in Washington last week, becoming the first pair of Arab states in the Persian Gulf region to do so, and the third and fourth Arab states overall to establish ties with the Jewish State since its creation in 1948.

    Another Arab country is expected to normalise ties with Israel in the near future, US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft has said.

    “Our plan is to bring in more countries; we will have more being announced very soon,” Craft said, speaking to the Saudi-owned news channel Al Arabiya on Wednesday. “Well it could be today – there will be one in the next day or two,” she added.

    The diplomat did not specify which country it could be, but hinted that “obviously, we would welcome Saudi Arabia to be next.”

    Craft also suggested that the goal of the US normalisation diplomacy was to prevent Iran from “exploit[ing] the goodwill” of Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, and to show Iranians “that people really want peace in the Middle East, and they are part of this peace”.

    Last week, Mossad chief Yossi Cohen indicated that a normalisation deal between Tel Aviv and Riyadh “could happen”, but refrained from commenting on whether he had held any secret meetings with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the matter.

    Earlier this month, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir said Riyadh would like to see a “just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue”, including the creation of a Palestinian state within the borders as they were in 1967, in line with the Saudi-sponsored Arab Peace Initiative of 2002. His comments followed reports that King Salman had held telephone talks with US President Donald Trump, in which he outlined Palestinian statehood as a condition for peace between Riyadh and Tel Aviv.

    Israel’s PM Set for Meeting With Sudanese Officials

    In a related development, Israel’s i24NEWS has reported, citing unnamed sources, that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sudanese Sovereignty Council Chairman Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan were going to meet in Uganda ‘in the coming days’ for talks.

    Al-Burhan travelled to the UAE earlier this week for talks with US officials, with the issue of normalising ties with Tel Aviv one of the topics discussed.

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Sudanese officials last month. During the negotiations, Pompeo urged Khartoum to normalise ties with Tel Aviv, hinting that Washington would remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terror if it did so.

    Leaders from Sudan’s transitional government , which took power following a military coup d’état in 2019, told their US counterparts that they do not have the mandate to establish ties with Israel, citing the country’s gradual transition to democracy, which is expected to be completed by 2022.

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