Legislative Authority meets with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Parliament Affairs
A virtual joint inter-governmental parliamentary meeting was held today, chaired by Parliament Speaker, Fawzia bint Abdullah Zainal, with the participation of the Speaker of the Shura Council, Ali bin Saleh Al Saleh, and in the presence of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, and Minister of Parliament Affairs, Ghanim bin Fadl Al-Buainain. Also present were the chairmen and members of the Foreign Affairs, Defense and National Security Committees at both Shura and Representatives Councils, in the presence of Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs to follow up on the implementation of Al-Ula Statement issued after the last GCC summit in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Assistant Foreign Minister, Abdullah bin Faisal bin Jabr Al-Dossari, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for International Affairs, Dr. Shaikh Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Shaikha Rana bint Isa bin Daij Al Khalifa, and Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Regional and GCC Affairs, Waheed Mubarak Sayyar were also present in the meeting.
For her part, Representative Speaker confirmed that today's meeting comes in the context of effective and continuous cooperation between the executive and the legislative authority in order to serve the country and citizens, in implementation of the directives of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
She indicated the need to inform the legislative authority about the developments of the Bahraini position after the Gulf summit and the Al-Ula statement, and the continuous Qatari practices that target the lives and interests of Bahraini fishermen.
She also praised the efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Bahraini diplomacy in promoting joint Gulf action, stressing the importance of the role of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries in pushing the Qatari authorities to respect joint relations and to officially respond to the Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ call to hold bilateral meetings to discuss outstanding issues and the statement of Al-Ula.
For his part, Shura Council Chairman commended the pivotal results and recommendations of the Gulf Summit held in Al-Ula in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the beginning of this year, expressing his pride in efforts exerted by the Kingdom to implement the summit decisions, and its constant emphasis on expanding joint action and cooperation towards prosperity and progress for the countries of the GCC.
He also hailed the tireless efforts made by His Royal Highness the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, to represent the position of the Kingdom of Bahrain in the topics raised at the summit, praising the role of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Abdulatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, to solidify the positions of the Kingdom of Bahrain and take the necessary measures to implement the results of the Al-Ula summit through joint and continuous work with their Excellencies the Foreign Ministers and representatives of the GCC countries.
The Shura Council Chairman commended the contributions and initiatives undertaken by the Kingdom of Bahrain, following the leadership of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, to support the joint Gulf action. He noted in this regard the Kingdom of Bahrain’s initiative to invite the State of Qatar and start bilateral negotiations with the aim of reaching an agreement on allowing fishermen in the two countries to practice their activities in accordance with what has been known for decades, in order to preserve the historical rights of fishermen, expressing his hope for a response from the Qatari side.
He also noted appreciation towards the Minister of Foreign Affairs to inform the legislative authority of the latest developments regarding the follow-up of the implementation of the recommendations of the Al-Ula Summit, which reflects the complementarity between the legislative and executive authorities in the Kingdom of Bahrain, affirming support to all the initiatives and the royal directives and the efforts made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to support cooperation, interdependence and integration between the brotherly states and peoples of the Arab Gulf and reach more achievements in all fields in a way that serves the aspirations of GCC countries and peoples.
For his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed his deep appreciation and thanks for the sincere efforts made by the legislative authority to promote the comprehensive development process led by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and supported by His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, for all that benefits the nation and citizens, expressing his pleasure to always meet with members of the legislative authority, praising their keenness and tangible interest in following up the latest developments related to national affairs and the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in implementing foreign policy and defending the interests of the Kingdom.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs stressed the importance of this meeting to inform the legislative authority of the measures taken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs towards implementing the provisions of the Al-Ula Declaration issued by the GCC summit held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the fifth of last January, in commitment by the Kingdom to what was stated in the Al-Ula Declaration of procedures to end the dispute with the State of Qatar.
Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani underlined that the Kingdom of Bahrain is keen to implement the commitments presented in the Al-Ula Declaration that would create the conditions for the start of a new phase in our bilateral and joint relations, through a clear and transparent dialogue, in order to achieve the goals that we aspire to achieve and resolve all issues and pending matters with the State of Qatar.
He stressed that the Kingdom of Bahrain appreciates the sincere efforts made by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its wise leadership, thanks to its sincere approaches and its main important role to unify the GCC, enhance joint Gulf action, maintain the security and stability of the GCC countries and enhance Arab national security. He further explained that the outcomes of the Al-Ula summit, hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Al-Ula Governorate, aims to preserve the cohesion of the GCC and to settle all disputes in a way that preserves the region's security and stability.
Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani underscored that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has taken a number of necessary measures to preserve its interests and protect its security and stability, among which is a letter sent on 10th of December 2020 to the Secretary-General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, regarding mentioning the serious incident on 25 November 2020 where three patrol vessels of the Qatari Coast and Border Security intercepted two Bahraini Coast Guard vessels, within the territorial waters of the Kingdom of Bahrain, after having taken part in a maritime exercise “Al Manaa”, north of Fasht Al Dibal. The Minister affirmed that this incident in a threat to regional security and represents a blatant attack on the national sovereignty of the Kingdom of Bahrain and a flagrant violation of the principles and values of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
He added that the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United Nations in New York addressed a letter on January 6, 2021 to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the Security Council in response to the State of Qatar's allegations that military naval boats belonging to the Kingdom of Bahrain penetrated the territorial waters of Qatar, stressing that they are false and baseless allegations, adding that the Kingdom of Bahrain exercises its sovereignty over its territorial waters in accordance with the provisions of international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, without any prejudice or violation of the rights of neighboring countries.
He said that the delegation of the Kingdom of Bahrain clarified in its letter an incident of illegal interception by Qatari patrols on 25 November 2020, of Bahraini boats that were on a training mission inside the territorial sea of Bahrain, confirming that Bahrain had monitored that the Qatari authorities - years ago - undermined the sovereignty, security and integrity of Bahrain through the violation of its territorial waters without regard to international law.
Dr. Al-Zayani explained that the letter indicated that the Qatari authorities put the lives of Bahraini sailors at risk by attacking them and restricting their freedom, and caused the loss of some lives in at least one incident, as they illegally arrested - during the period from 2010 to 2020 - about 650 Bahraini boats and 2,153 Bahraini fishermen.
The Foreign Minister affirmed the attention paid by the wise leadership towards the issue of Bahraini fishermen, and its complete keenness to preserve the rights of Bahraini citizens, praising the tangible attention and follow-up that the Bahraini fishermen issue received from the legislative authority as well, which is appreciated by the people of Bahrain. He also explained that the Ministry of Interior, under the leadership of the Minister of Interior, took upon itself the responsibility to follow up this file with great care, as it affects the livelihood of many fishermen.
Dr. Al-Zayani indicated that, on January 11, 2021, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar, regarding the invitation of the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs to start bilateral discussions between the two sides on pending issues between the two countries, in implementation of what was stipulated in AlUla declaration.
The Minister said that on February 5, 2021, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a letter to the Secretary-General of the GCC in this regard, in which it clarified that the State of Qatar had not responded to the invitation sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and that it was confirmed that the Kingdom of Bahrain would await a response to the invitation for a bilateral meeting, which is the desire of the people of Bahrain, as it corresponds to what was stated in AlUla declaration issued by the Gulf summit. He also explained that the General Secretariat of the Cooperation Council circulated the letter of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the ministries of foreign affairs of the member states.
The Foreign Minister affirmed that Bahrain is committed to what was stipulated in AlUla declaration, and is ready to start serious bilateral talks with Qatar to address all outstanding issues.
During the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs responded to the questions posed by members of the legislative authority, expressing pride and appreciation for the cooperation and joint coordination between the legislative and executive authorities in everything that would serve the interests of the homeland and the citizens.