Bahrain condemns attack on British embassy compound, pledges security for all diplomats

March 17, 2010
Shaikh Khalid receiving Bowden – BNA

Bahrain on Wednesday condemned the throwing of a small Molotov cocktail into the compound of the British embassy in Manama and assured all diplomatic missions and residents that it remains committed to their safety and security.

“The attack on the British embassy on Tuesday is not acceptable and the Kingdom of Bahrain will in no case whatsoever be lenient with this,” Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, the foreign minister, said. “Bahrain remains committed to the safety and protection of all diplomatic missions in compliance with the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” he said in a statement carried by the Bahrain News Agency (BNA).

The attack on the British embassy will not affect the deep and robust relations between Bahrain and the United Kingdom, the minister.

“Bahrain will take whoever is behind the attack to court in line with the law,” Shaikh Khalid said.

The minister assured all diplomatic missions accredited in Bahrain as well as all residents that the kingdom is committed to their safety and security.

Bahraini daily Al Ayam said that the public security had been informed by the British embassy that an explosive device had been hurled at the embassy building in central Manama. The attack did not result in any material damage, according to the report.

Al Ayam said that the police arrested a suspect who confessed that he threw the Molotov cocktail and transferred him to the public prosecutor for investigation.

In London, the Foreign Office confirmed the report.

“We confirm that a small Molotov cocktail was thrown into the compound of the British embassy in Bahrain on the 16th of March. No one was hurt. We have got good relations with Bahrain and are working to resolve this issue,” it said.

The attack came amid growing tension between Ambassador Jamie Bowden and several MPs and people who owned majlises, the traditional Arabian gathering, who have been pushing for his departure from Bahrain amid claims that he held a secret meeting with members of Al Wefaq, the largest society, shortly after it waded into controversy.

The disgruntled protestors staged a rally in front of the embassy and took out ads in several local media to claim that they represented the Bahraini street and demand Bowden’s departure for his alleged “meddling in Bahrain’s domestic affairs.”

Bowden has denied any wrongdoing and insisted that his meeting with Al Wefaq had not been secret and that he did not necessarily endorsed their views.

In their general assembly, Al Wefaq, which has 17 of the 40 seats in the lower chamber, called for a change in the formation of the government.

 The call was immediately denounced as a constitutional coup and sparked wide condemnation by the other MPs and several columnists.

The call was overshadowed by the meeting between Al Wefaq and Bowden, the 12th British ambassador to Bahrain since it became independent in 1971.


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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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