Archive for Bahrain
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his deep concern to Bahrain Foreign Minister Khaled al-Khalifa over the expulsion of a U.S. diplomat for meeting with an opposition leader and over charges brought against the politician. A senior State Department official said Kerry, who was in Vienna for talks between Iran and major powers over curbing Tehran’s nuclear program, spoke by telephone with the Bahraini minister. Bahrain expelled Tom Malinowski, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, last week, saying he had “intervened flagrantly” in the country’s internal affairs by holding the meeting. Kerry “reiterated our view that the Government of Bahrain’s demand to have a Foreign Ministry representative present at private meetings between U.S. diplomats and Bahraini political figures is an unacceptable requirement that runs contrary to international diplomatic protocol,” the official said. The official said Kerry told the Bahraini minister that “our actions should be consistent with our strong bilateral relationship.” Bahrain is one of Washington’s main regional allies and hosts the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet. But the Gulf state has bristled at American criticism over its human rights record since suppressing a popular uprising in 2011. The U.S. State Department summoned a senior envoy from Bahrain – the charge d’affaires of its embassy in Washington – to formally protest Malinowski’s expulsion.
Bahrain has expelled a high-ranking American diplomat, accusing him of meddling in the Persian Gulf kingdom’s internal affairs. Tom Malinowski, US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, arrived in Bahrain on Sunday and met with members of Bahrain’s main opposition bloc al-Wefaq. The Foreign Ministry of Bahrain said in a statement published by the official BNA state news agency that Malinowski “held meetings with a particular party to the detriment of other interlocutors, thus discriminating between one people, contravening diplomatic norms and flouting normal interstate relations.” The statement added that Malinowski “is unwelcome and should immediately leave the country, due to his interference in its internal affairs.” Meanwhile, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Malinowski “is on a visit to reaffirm and strengthen our bilateral ties and to support his royal majesty King Hamad’s reform and reconciliation efforts at an important time, particularly given events elsewhere in the region.” Bahrain hosts the headquarters of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, where thousands of US military personnel are based. Since mid-February 2011, thousands of pro-democracy protesters have staged numerous demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.
Bahrain ruled out returning its ambassador to Qatar soon, signalling that efforts to resolve the unprecedented rift within the U.S.-allied Gulf Cooperation Council have yet to bear fruit. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates recalled their ambassadors from Doha in March, accusing Doha of failing to abide by an accord not to interfere in each others’ internal affairs. The three GCC states are angry at Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement whose ideology challenges the principle of conservative dynastic rule long dominant in the Gulf. The Gulf Arab states in April agreed on steps to try to heal the rift. But Bahrain state news agency BNA said on Sunday the foreign minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, speaking about a GCC meeting in Saudi Arabia on Saturday to assess progress in efforts to end the dispute, had said: “Bahrain’s ambassador to Qatar will not return to resume his duties in Doha at the present time.” Qatar has said that its foreign policy is “non-negotiable.”
The Cabinet has approved a memorandum presented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the establishment of a diplomatic mission in the Republic of Indonesia. The move comes 30 years after the establishment of diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level between the two countries and the opening of the embassy of Indonesia in the Kingdom in 2010. The new diplomatic mission aims to strengthen friendly relations and develop bilateral cooperation in various areas of common interest, as well as to support trade and economic exchange, which was estimated at more than BD53 million of non-oil products in 2011.
Bahrain will soon open its first South American embassy in Brazil, with others also being considered, it was announced on Sunday. The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, made the decision after a study by the Foreign Ministry, Gulf Daily News reported. “There are huge interests between Bahrain and South American countries, but we are not represented there,” Minister of State for Information Affairs Sameera Rajab said. “Anything in relation to South American countries was being done by our embassy in Washington and that is illogical.”
India took up with Bahrain the case of their senior diplomat booked for allegedly molesting a woman in Mumbai, but not arrested due to diplomatic immunity. After the Indian foreign ministry raised it with the Bahrain authorities, they assured that they would look into the diplomat’s conduct. Consul General of Bahrain, Mohammed Abdulaziz Al Khaja, has been booked for molesting and verbally abusing the woman manager of his housing society in south Mumbai on December 9, the police said. In her complaint, the 49-year-old woman alleged that Mr Khaja had lost his temper at finding an elevator in the building shut for repairs. The diplomat, who has stayed in the building for five years, was reportedly slamming the doors of the elevator when she saw him and asked him to calm down. The woman alleged that Mr Khaja did not stop and that in a rage, he touched her and used abusive language. He also ransacked her office, she alleged. The woman went to the police, who conducted a preliminary inquiry and registered a complaint. The police say the diplomat has not been arrested as he enjoys diplomatic immunity. He has been booked for molestation and breach of peace among other charges, said Malabar Hill police station senior inspector Vinay Bagade said.
The government has established its embassy in Manama of Kingdom of Bahrain. Foreign Secretary Arjun Bahadur Thapa and his counterpart of the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain Karim Ebrahim Al-Shaker inaugurated the opening of the Embassy of Nepal in Manama at the premises of the Embassy of Nepal in Manama located at Juffair, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press statement. Bahrain hosted around 35,000 Nepali workers and looked forward to expanding the areas of cooperation in the days to come.