In yet another win for President Donald Trump and other supporters of the Jewish State, the Himalayan country of Bhutan just became the fifth nation to normalize relations with Israel this year.
Israel welcomed the “modest” development, the Washington Examiner reported, which came just days after the Arab state of Morocco did the same in a deal overseen by Trump himself.
Fifth nation in span of months
Bhutan, an isolated, landlocked country neighboring India, has diplomatic ties with just 53 countries, according to Reuters, and the list does not include world powers like the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China.
But the Buddhist kingdom’s foreign ambassador to India signed a diplomatic agreement with his Israeli counterpart on Saturday, following years of secret negotiations — incidentally, just days after Morocco became the fourth Arab country this year to normalize ties with the Jewish state.
“The establishment of diplomatic relations (will) create new avenues for cooperation between the two countries in water management, technology, human resource development, agricultural sciences and other areas of mutual benefit,” their agreement said, according to Reuters.
Israel’s leaders hailed the deal, with ambassador to India Ron Malka calling it “modest, but very special.”
“They have been impressed by Israel’s abilities for many years, and their prime minister wanted relations,” he said, as the Washington Examinerreported. “We advise them on topics that are important to them like water management, agriculture and technology… education and professional training as well. They’re very interested in the topic of medicine.”
More countries normalizing Israel ties
Bhutan restricts travel closely to foreigners, but will make tourism more available to Israelis from now on, according to the Jerusalem Post.
“Israel’s circle of recognition is growing and expanding,” Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said of the news, according to Reuters. “The establishment of relations between us and the Kingdom of Bhutan will serve as another milestone in deepening Israel’s ties in Asia.”
The agreement does not appear to be connected with the Abraham Accords, President Trump’s widely hailed peace agreements in the Middle East normalizing relations between Israel and Arab States.
But Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised it as “additional fruit” of those deals and said that other countries are in touch with Israel, the Examiner noted.
Israel has had tense relations with its neighbors since its inception in 1948, and before this year had only normalized relations with two Arab nations, Jordan and Egypt. Before Morocco last week, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan normalized ties with Israel with Trump mediating, according to Reuters.