New peace deals between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain send a message to Iran that its influence in the region is waning, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Pompeo spoke about the U.S.-brokered deals at a trilateral meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani.
“These agreements open up wonderful opportunities for commerce and economic development,” Pompeo said of the so-called Abraham Accords.
“These agreements also tell malign actors like the Islamic Republic of Iran that their influence in the region is waning and that they are ever more isolated in this and shall forever be until they change their direction.
“[The agreements] also advance religious freedom. Muslims will be able to more easily pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque thanks to the new flights through Abu Dhabi and Manama,” he added.
Pompeo lauded both Netanyahu and Zayani, who was on his first official visit to the Jewish state, for turning the agreements into “real action, bold action.”
Netanyahu thanked the Trump administration for “three peace agreements in six weeks.”
“I don’t think it gets any better than that!”
“What we are doing with this agreement is… unleashing an economic force, a force for peace and the benefit of both our peoples,” he went on. “King Hamad [bin Isa Al Khalifa] and I are building a bridge of peace many others will cross in the future.”
Zayani said he was “greatly encouraged” by his meetings in Jerusalem.
“We definitely have something to work with, and I am optimistic for the future,” he said. “It has been obvious the intention and the keenness that the peace we are pursuing will be a warm peace that will benefit both peoples.”
Zayani also called for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
“This is the dawn of peace for the entire Middle East, and to this end I continue to emphasize in all my meetings that, in order to achieve such a peace, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict needs to be resolved,” he said. “Therefore, I call for both parties to get around the negotiating table to achieve a viable two-state solution as is also sought by the international community.”
During his three-day visit, Pompeo will make a personal visit to Qasr el-Yahud, the site of Jesus’ baptism and where the Jewish people first crossed the Jordan River into the land of Israel. He is also slated to visit the Psagot settlement in the West Bank, a decision that drew ire from the Palestinian leadership which called it “an act of aggression.”
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