October 25, 2012 § 3 Comments
October 22, 2012 § Leave a comment
Last week, one police officer was killed and another was critically wounded in an unprovoked and unwarranted terrorist attack in central Bahrain . Attacks like these seek to undermine the spirit of peaceful reconciliation we are working to bring about in Bahrain, serve to sow dissension among Bahrainis, and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.
Bahraini police officers face the difficult task of confronting demonstrators that many times mean them harm. We have seen a rise in violent attacks using Molotov cocktails and other lethal weapons. Since January 2012, hundreds of police officers have been hospitalized with life-altering injuries that will require extensive therapy and rehabilitation.
More than ever, we need to work together through an inclusive, multi-lateral dialogue among Bahrainis, to bring about a better Bahrain for all its people.
My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families at this difficult time.
October 12, 2012 § Leave a comment
Millions of men, women, and families are affected every year by breast cancer. October marks a special month of honoring doctors and researchers working to fight the disease and the survivors who battle day-in and day-out to recover, and to remember those who have lost their lives to this dreadful disease.
I am proud that the towers of the Bahrain Financial Harbor, one of my country’s most prominent architectural landmarks, are illuminated with pink lights to remind men and women in Bahrain who are at risk for breast cancer to remain active in its prevention. In partnership with the Bahrain Cancer Society, many Bahraini businesses are encouraging their employees to wear pink to show their support for education and early detection. It is exciting, each October, to see the creative ways so many individuals find to support breast cancer awareness.
Here at the Embassy in Washington, we have long been supporters of a variety of breast cancer-related charities, including the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and we will continue our efforts to promote maximum awareness of the disease.
To the men and women working for a cure: thank you.
October 4, 2012 § 1 Comment
Last week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, I joined Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, H.E. Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, at the second ministerial meeting for the US-GCC Strategic Cooperation Forum. The Forum formally launched in March 2012 as a vehicle to deepen strategic cooperation between the United States and GCC member countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) in an effort to advance a variety of shared political, military, security, and economic interests.
In the face of common threats, the Forum agreed to intensify coordination on issues of mutual importance in the Arabian Gulf and reaffirmed ongoing plans for the forging of closer ties to deal with threats to the territory of the GCC states. The Forum also emphasized the need to bolster mutual defense capabilities to preserve freedom of navigation of waterways and to combat any threats to close the Straits of Hormuz.
The Forum also discussed the ongoing situations in Syria and Yemen, as well as the need for closer coordination to bring about a “just, lasting, and comprehensive peace in the Middle East and to seeking a comprehensive resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The Forum participants reinforced their rejection of terrorism and extremism and condemned recent attacks against American and other international diplomatic facilities. They also condemned “the vulgar video clip that sought to denigrate the Prophet Mohammed and expressed their rejection of any intentional efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.”
The depth of cooperation the Forum encourages underscores the important relationship the GCC countries share with the United States. All GCC countries are proud to serve as the home to American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines in the Middle East, and we are eager to continue our military relationship with the United States that spans many decades.
October 1, 2012 § Leave a comment
Last week, I accompanied Bahrain ‘s Foreign Minister, His Excellency Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, in New York during the opening session of the 67th United Nations General Assembly. During the session, leaders from each country are given an opportunity to address the Assembly and discuss issues of great global importance. H.E. Shaikh Khalid Addressed the Assembly on Thursday evening.
H.E. Shaikh Khalid also addressed events since the outbreak of unrest in February 2011 and reiterated the proactive steps the Government of Bahrain has undertaken to make meaningful reform. Below, please find several quotes from the speech. And you can download the full version here.
On the history of reform in Bahrain:
“Throughout its long history, Bahrain has opted for dialogue as an approach to all its modernization efforts oriented towards meeting the requirements of modern times, beginning by the election of municipal councils in the 1920s and the parliamentary councils during the last decades. Important results were achieved in providing a greater degree of equality, participation, transparency, political rights and human dignity. This represents a historical achievement towards a society based on competitive sustainability, justice, the rule of law, equality, and the consecration of the principles of popular representation and participation in the decision making process.”
On Responding to the Unrest:
“The Kingdom of Bahrain has faced since last year a number of serious challenges to its security and stability which it addressed with full transparency, commitment and honesty in order to restore security and stability. In this context, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry was created to establish the truth and give each person his or her due. Consequently, a comprehensive dialogue took place among the various sectors of society and resulted in a series of constitutional and legislative reforms encompassing all aspects of life: political, social, and legal.”
On Bahrain’s response to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review in Geneva:
“Consistent with its continued efforts aimed at building a pluralistic Bahraini society and its commitment to the protection and enhancement of human rights, the Kingdom of Bahrain last week accepted, before the Human Rights Council in Geneva, more that 90% of the recommendations made by the Council in the context of the Universal Periodic Review.”
On the Gulf Union:
“The challenges and threats facing our region led the Member States of the Gulf Cooperation Council to appreciate the need for greater synergies among them, notably by endorsing the proposal made by the Custodian of the two Holy Shrines, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, to move from the stage of “cooperation” to one of “union” with a view to addressing those challenges and threats and building the capacities necessary to achieve a unified society based on a shared vision for the future, commensurate with accelerating movement of the world and responding to the aspirations of the peoples of the GCC, deeply convinced that their interests and assets can only be served through solidarity and unity so as to preserve national independence and state sovereignty and to adapt to the strategic global and regional transformations.”
On Iran’s interference in the internal affairs of the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council:
“While the Member States of the GCC stretch out their hand to their neighbor, the Islamic Republic of Iran, they unfortunately find no response that may facilitate confidence building and peace and security. On the contrary, they have to face constant interference in their internal affairs,” he said.