British envoy stresses non-interference in domestic affairs

March 7, 2010

Shaikh Khalid receiving Bowden - BNA

Britain’s ambassador, under fire from several lawmakers for a controversial meeting with Al Wefaq, Bahrain’s largest parliamentary bloc, has stressed the non-interference of his embassy in Bahrain’s domestic affairs and its respect for the country’s constitution and laws.

Jamie Bowden said at a meeting with Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s foreign minister, that Britain was keen to reinforce bilateral relations.

According to Bahrain News Agency, Shaikh Khalid said at the meeting with Bowden that attempts by any side in Bahrain to involve embassies in internal affairs contradicted international customs and laws and caused harm to brotherly and friendly relations with all countries.

The meeting was the first public appearance of the British envoy with a Bahraini senior official since he was harshly criticized by several MPs and newspaper columnists for meeting members from Al Wefaq shortly after the society waded into controversy at its general conference for calling for changes in the executive branch. The call was denounced as “a constitutional coup” and the meeting between Al Wefaq and Bowden was condemned as “an invitation to interfere in Bahrain’s domestic affairs.”

Several MPs, alongside mosque imams and columnists, called for either an official apology from the ambassador or his expulsion for his perceived role in the allegedly secret meeting.

However, the British embassy on Saturday dismissed as “incorrect” the allegations that the meeting with Al Wefaq was held in secret.

“There have been a number if allegations that the ambassador’s recent meeting with MPs from Al Wefaq society was secret. This is incorrect. The meeting was a routine one held in the British embassy with full knowledge of numerous staff,” the British embassy said.

“As is usual, it was notified in advance to the Ministry of Interior police who guard the embassy compound. We regularly meet MPs from Al Asala, Al Menbar, Al Wefaq and independents. This does not imply, of course, that we agree with them on every issue,” the embassy said.





About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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