Netanyahu, Bahrain Crown Prince talk COVID vaccine production initiative

Ashkenazi and Jordanian FM in frequent contact, working to bolster ties.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen speaking at a Clalit vaccination center in Zarzir, on February 9, 2021. (photo credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen speaking at a Clalit vaccination center in Zarzir, on February 9, 2021.
(photo credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)
Israel and Bahrain called for US allies in the Middle East to have input in talks with Iran, a statement from the Bahraini crown prince’s office said on Thursday.
In a phone call between Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “the importance of regional participation in any negotiations on the Iranian nuclear deal, provided that these negotiations include broader issues to consolidate regional security and stability, was stressed,” according to the readout from the crown prince’s office.
The statement came as the US looks to negotiate with Iran to reenter the 2015 nuclear deal, as long as Iran returns to compliance with its limitations. A report from the International Atomic Energy Agency this week found that Iran has been enriching uranium up to 20%, far beyond the Iran deal’s restrictions.
The Prime Minister’s Office statement emphasized that Bahrain is interested in joining an Israeli initiative to produce vaccines in the region.
Netanyahu said on Wednesday that he has been in talks with Pfizer and Moderna, the two major COVID-19 vaccine producers, to begin local production, and has spoken with six other countries, including Austria and Denmark, to build joint facilities.
The crown prince also renewed his invitation to Netanyahu to visit Bahrain. Netanyahu has postponed his visit several times since Israel and Bahrain established diplomatic relations in September, due to the pandemic and political situation in Israel. He told the crown prince that he would visit Bahrain “at the first opportunity that the morbidity will permit,” the PMO said.
Also on Thursday, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi’s office confirmed that he has been in contact with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, to discuss ways to strengthen ties between the two countries.
Earlier this week, Safadi told Jordan’s Roya News that it is in Jordan’s interest to discuss “everyday matters” with Israel.
“The topic of water is one that we must discuss together,” he said. “It is a shared topic for both sides.”
Other issues Safadi mentioned were the Allenby crossing between Israel and Jordan, and the entry of goods from Jordan into the West Bank.
The directors-general of the two foreign ministries met several weeks ago to discuss advancing joint projects in water, tourism, agriculture, transportation, trade and more.
Israel has been trying to accommodate Jordan, which seeks to increase trade with the Palestinian Authority, KAN first reported.
Rossella Tercatin contributed to this report.