Bahrain said Thursday a deal between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel to normalize ties is “a step to enhance opportunities to achieve peace in the Middle East.”

“The Kingdom of Bahrain extends its warm congratulations to the UAE along with the US and Israel for reaching a deal that halts the annexation of Palestinian territories,” the Bahraini Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It described the agreement as a “historic step” that will contribute to “enhancing stability and peace in the region.”

“The Kingdom of Bahrain looks forward to continue the efforts till reaching a lasting, fair and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian Israeli conflict,” It added.

US President Donald Trump announced the deal Thursday, in a move forestalling Israel’s controversial plans to annex large swathes of the occupied West Bank.

A joint statement from the US, UAE, and Israel said the “breakthrough” will promote “peace in the Middle East region and is a testament to the bold diplomacy and vision of the three leaders,” referring to Trump, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, and Netanyahu.

The UAE News Agency also confirmed the agreement as a step towards bilateral relations.

The development marks only the third time an Arab nation has opened full diplomatic ties with Israel, and the Emirates is now the first Gulf Arab state to do so. The other Arab nations with diplomatic ties with Israel are Egypt and Jordan.

Palestinian groups slammed the new agreement saying it does nothing to serve the Palestinian cause and ignores the rights of the Palestinian people. The UAE peace deal with Israel is a “treacherous stab in the back of the Palestinian people,” Hamas said in a statement.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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