Manama grateful to all supporters

December 14, 2012

Bahrain’s foreign minister has dismissed speculation that Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa excluded some Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and the US as he thanked countries that supported Manama in the last 18 months.

In his address at the Manama Dialogue conference on Friday evening, Prince Salman lauded the countries that helped Bahrain “get to the point of relative calm”.

“You are aware [that] we had our own experience with the so called ‘Arab Spring’ last year,” the Crown Prince said. “It caused a lot of harm to the society of my beloved Kingdom. In our case, it divided the nation. While relative calm has returned to the kingdom, there are many wounds to be healed on all sides. I would like to take, though, the opportunity to thank those who got us to this point of relative calm. First and foremost, the member states of the GCC. Thank you. In particular, notice must be given to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, without whose actions and words we would have been in a far different place,” he said.

Prince Salman then thanked the West and singled out the United Kingdom.

“I would in particular like to thank the diplomats, the leadership and the government of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of the UK. You have stood head and shoulders above others,” he said.

Three countries in Asia were also mentioned in the speech.

“I would like to thank those in the East who received us with open arms: the governments of Singapore, Korea and Japan. You deserve our thanks and our respect. Thank you very much,” Prince Salman said.

Participants in the three-day international conference on Saturday said they wanted to know the reasons some GCC countries and the US were not given the public thumb up by Prince Salman.

“What did his Royal Highness the Crown Prince say last night? First of all, he prioritised whom to thank, and thanked our brothers in the GCC,” Shaikh Khalid said.

“He mentioned them all. He did not mention each country by name, but mentioned them all, and gave the two most important examples of those who have made an effort in standing with Bahrain. These were obvious: they were Saudi Arabia and the UAE. He did not exclude in any way the rest of the GCC.

“We all remember that the whole GCC gathered in Bahrain on February 17 or 18, for a meeting of foreign ministers. That was the declaration to give support to Bahrain, which we have followed up later. That covered, in part, military security and human security in providing the Gulf programme for Bahrain and Oman. No one was excluded, but two examples were given,” the foreign minister said.

“That brings us to the United States of America, which is our major Nato ally and our partner in the Gulf, and with whom we have a long historical relationship. Again, His Royal Highness thanked our friends in the West. He did not exclude anyone. He then gave an example of the United Kingdom and Her Majesty’s Government, because they had made a lot of efforts. We gauged it by efforts and mentioned the United Kingdom. Then, of course, we could not not refer to our allies in Asia. We mentioned those three countries with whom we had been doing a lot of work, and who had kept their door open.

We were not excluding anybody based on having worked with different parties here in Bahrain. The United Kingdom has been doing the same thing through their respective ambassadors as the US. It was a matter of mentioning those who have done more, but no one was excluded here,” Shaikh Khalid 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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