Israeli and Bahraini Foreign Ministers meet in Washington

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz met Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled al-Ahmad al-Khalifa during a conference on religious freedoms in Washington DC yesterday.

They were pictured together despite Israel and Bahrain having no formal diplomatic relations. Katz’s office said the meeting and photo-call were arranged by State Department officials.

According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the two Foreign Ministers discussed Iran, future cooperation, regional threats and agreed to maintain contact. Katz tweeted the picture with the caption: “Another example of our growing diplomatic connections. I will continue to work with Prime Minister Netanyahu to advance Israel’s relations with the Gulf countries.” Earlier this month Katz travelled to Abu Dhabi to participate in a UN conference on climate and the environment. Last November, as transport minister, he attended a conference in Oman.

Katz welcomed the decision by Argentina to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organisation. He tweeted: “Israel welcomes the important decision of the President of Argentina Mauricio Macri to recognise Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation. The entire world must unite in the struggle against the terror activities by Iran and its proxies.”

The Bahrain Foreign Ministry also welcomed the decision, calling it: “A new step towards the international community’s recognition of the danger of this terrorist group to international peace and security”.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Argentina to mark the 25th anniversary of the bombing of the AMIA building, a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires in which 85 people died. The Argentinian Government has ordered the freezing of Hezbollah assets in the country, blaming them for two major terrorist attacks in Argentina against Jewish targets including the AMIA bombing.