Israel will establish ties with Bhutan, the fifth country to declare relations with Israel in four months and just two days after Morocco announced.
"Last weekend, I spoke with my colleague, the Bhutanese foreign minister and we agreed on the establishment of full relations between Israel and Bhutan and we also agreed that the signing date will be 12.12.2020, on the eve of Saturday nigh," Israel's Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi wrote on Twitter. "We also talked about formulating a joint work plan in the areas of water management, agriculture, health and more."
"The circle of recognition of Israel is growing and expanding," Ashkenazi continued. "I would like to thank the Kingdom of Bhutan and Israel's ambassador to India for this decision to implement the establishment of full diplomatic relations with Israel. This decision is a milestone in deepening Israel's ties with Asia."
According to Ashkenazi, in recent years secret contacts were conducted between the countries, led by the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, with the aim of establishing official relations, including reciprocal visits between Israel and Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also welcomed the news on Twitter.
"I welcome the establishment of relations between Israel and Bhutan, which is more fruit of the peace agreements," he wrote. "We are in contact with other countries that want to join and establish relations with us."
The wave of peace agreements with Israel began in August when the United Arab Emirates announced full normalization with Israel, shortly followed by Bahrain, Sudan in October, Morocco on Thursday and now Bhutan. Other countries are expected to follow suit.
U.S. President Donald Trump brokered the historic Abraham Accords which were signed on Sept. 15 of this year.
Bhutan is a landlocked nation in Asia of 750,000, three-quarters of whom practice Buddhism. It is between China and India.
The country has no diplomatic relations with any of the permanent members on the UN Security Council, even the United States.
Ron Malka, Israel’s ambassador to India, signed the agreement.
"Historic day! Today 🇮🇱 & 🇧🇹 established formal diplomatic relations," he tweeted. "I was honored & excited to be part of this historic moment & to sign the official note. This agreement will open up many more opportunities for cooperation for the benefit of both our peoples 🇧🇹🤝🇮🇱"
Nicole Jansezian is the news editor for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS