Syria situation tops Manama Dialogue debates

December 14, 2012

Political and security figures from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), US, Europe and Asia will start on Friday a conference that will have a special focus on the escalating situation in Syria and its implications for the region. The Manama Dialogue is expected to draw together several ministers and policymakers responsible for regional security, organisers said. The list of Arab ministers attending the Manama Dialogue includes Shaikh Sabah Khalid Al Sabah of Kuwait, Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE, Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, and Nasser Judeh of Jordan, the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said.

The IISS and Bahrain’s foreign ministry are co-organising the three-day event, the eighth since its inception in 2004. Last year’s session was skipped due to the unrest that hit Bahrain. Minister-led delegations will attend from the US, the UK, Germany and Italy. Remarks by the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and US Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns will draw considerable interest, IISS said. Several Chiefs of Defence staff and deputy chiefs from North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia will also take part.“A significant congressional delegation will also attend from the US and will include John McCain, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Mike Rogers, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Dutch Ruppersberger, Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence,” IISS said.

The Manama Dialogue, a major security conference in the region, is taking place this year at a challenging time in the region, the IISS said.

“The IISS is delighted to offer an international and independent platform in the form of the Manama Dialogue for the conduct of defence and foreign affairs diplomacy centred on the Gulf and the wider Middle East,” John Chipman, Director-General and CEO of the IISS, said.

This year, there is a special opportunity for leaders to engage on the crisis in Syria, the strategic impact of political developments in the region, communal and sectarian issues, maritime security, and the roles of powers from different parts of the world in the region,” he said.

For the IISS, “no other meeting in the Middle East brings together such a wide range of government ministers and officials from the region, the Americas, Europe and Asia.

“None has such a diverse group of government leaders addressing the hardest issues of the day before an experienced delegate group drawn from the worlds of politics, diplomacy, strategy and education,” Chipman said.

“Senior ministerial delegations will take advantage of this unique opportunity to convene to advance bilateral relations and pursue key policy objectives around vital security issues, including proliferation and sectarian divides.”

The escalating situation in Syria and its security implications for the region will be addressed in the opening and special sessions.

“The IISS hopes and expects that the array of governments represented at the Manama Dialogue will use the occasion to exchange frank views on the challenges of the moment and to strengthen their relations wherever possible,” Chipman said.

According to the IISS, the attendance of international journalists, experts and business leaders helps sharpen the public debate, ensuring transparency on key questions.



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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