Israel holds Twitter chats with GCC

Aug. 6, 2013 at 7:49 AM

JERUSALEM, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- To promote dialogue, Israel's Foreign Ministry set up a Twitter account to chat with Arab members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, officials said.

After opening a Twitter account last month, Rafi Barak, the ministry's director-general, will chat Tuesday on the "official channel of the virtual Israeli embassy to GCC countries," The Jerusalem Post reported.

GCC member countries include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Barak is scheduled to hold chats with the GCC countries in Arabic and English. The ministry said the move is "dedicated to promoting dialogue with the people of the GCC region."

Aside from representation in one Persian Gulf country, its exact location unknown, Israel has no other diplomatic missions in Gulf countries. In the past it maintained interest sections in Qatar and Oman which were shut down after the outbreak of the second intifada in 2000, the paper said.

The ministry has engaged in a number of social media platforms to develop dialogue with the Arab world. The ministry's Arabic language Facebook page has some 264,000 likes, far more than its Hebrew language or Persian Facebook pages. The Twitter account, @IsraelintheGCC, had more than 1,100 followers by midday Tuesday.

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