Bahrain has invited an Israeli minister to attend a conference in the Gulf state, Israel's state broadcaster has reported, as Tel Aviv seeks to establish diplomatic relations with Arab and African-Muslim states.
The Israel Broadcasting Corporation's Arabic-language service announced the development on Monday, after Chad's president met with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
Citing informed sources, the report said Economy Minister Eli Cohen has received an official invitation from Bahrain to take part in a technology conference in mid-April next year.
"The next destination for Netanyahu will be Sudan. Israeli officials are working to build relations with this African Republic, one of the goals of this is to reduce the distance of flights between Israel and South America by gaining access to Sudanese and Chadian airspace," the report said.
Israel's Channel 10 reported that Israel is currently making efforts to establish relations with Bahrain and Muslim states in Africa.
Hani Marzouk, spokesperson for the Israeli prime minister's Office for Arab media, said that Netanyahu is also expected to visit Bahrain.
"The Kingdom of Bahrain is the next destination for Netanyahu," Marzouk said, according to Al Jazeera.
The outlet said the meeting between Netanyahu and Chadian President Idriss Deby "will pave the way for relations with Muslim neighbours Mali and Niger".
"There will be additional visits to Arab countries soon," Netanyahu was quoted as saying during talks with Deby.
The developments come after Netanyahu made a surprise visit to the Gulf sultanate of Oman last month - the first in more than 20 years by an Israeli premier.
Last Friday, a spokesman for Netanyahu said the primer would soon visit Bahrain.
The surprise meeting with Oman's Sultan Qaboos was kept secret until Netanyahu's return home. It took place despite the two nations having no diplomatic ties.
Following Netanyahu's visit, Israeli ministers visited the UAE and Oman.
Israel currently has full diplomatic relations with only Egypt and Jordan, but the trips are the latest sign of growing regional ties between Israel and Arab states.
Israel and some Gulf states - notably Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain - have a shared interest in curbing Iran's influence in the region and cooperate on intelligence gathering.
Palestinian officials strongly condemned Oman for hosting Netanyahu, saying it was a betrayal of the Palestinian people who still live under brutal Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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