After UAE, Another Muslim country inks peace deal with Israel

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WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump announced Friday a "peace deal" between Israel and Bahrain, which becomes the second Arab country to settle with its former foe in the last few weeks.

"Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain agree to a Peace Deal - the second Arab country to make peace with Israel in 30 days!" Trump tweeted.

A joint US-Israel-Bahrain statement said there would be "full diplomatic relations."

Bahrain has agreed to formalise the deal with Israel at a ceremony on September 15 at the White House, where the United Arab Emirates will also sign off on its own thaw with Israel announced in mid-August.

According to the statement, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Trump talked earlier Friday before announcing the breakthrough.

At the White House Trump celebrated, calling it "a truly historic day" and "so interesting" that he was able to make the announcement on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks by Islamist radicals against the United States.

"When I took office the Middle East was in a state of absolute chaos," said Trump, who faces a difficult re-election in just over seven weeks.

The UAE's earlier announcement of a normalization of relations with Israel broke with years of Arab League policy on the Middle East conflict and has seen pushback from the Palestinians and Iran.

Trump, who has made crushing sanctions and diplomatic pressure on Israel's arch foe Iran a priority of his administration, predicted however that there would be a "very positive" development in the standoff with Tehran.

"I can see a lot of good things happening with respect to the Palestinians," he added, without giving details.

Until now, Israel has been able to strike only two similar peace accords with Arab countries — Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. APP/AFP