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OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will visit Bahrain on Thursday, in the first official trip by an Israeli cabinet minister to the Gulf state, following a US-brokered normalisation accord agreed a year ago.

A foreign ministry statement said Lapid, who had been invited by his Bahraini counter-part, will inaugurate the Israeli embassy in Manama and is “expected to sign a list of bilateral agreements”.

“This will be the first official visit by an Israeli minister to (Bahrain),” the statement said.

Following negotiations spearheaded by former US president Donald Trump, the United Arab Emirates, followed quickly by Bahrain and Morocco, last year became the first Arab states in decades to normalise relations with Israel.

The Jewish state had earlier reached peace treaties with neighbouring Egypt and Jordan. Since the normalisation agreements, known as the Abraham Accords, were signed, ties have expanded between Israel and its new Gulf partners, notably including direct flights and economic deals.

Lapid is the main architect of the Israeli coalition government that ousted ex-premier Benjamin Netanyahu, who signed the Abraham Accords.

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