FM affirms Bahrain’s commitment to bolster security along with other countries during Manama Dialogue speech
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, affirmed that the situation in Syria is the most challenging for countries in the region and the crisis is not limited to these countries in view of its many and grave affects.
He said in a speech during the Plenary Session at the Manama Dialogue entitled (American Policies and Regional Security) that the key challenge in Syria was not merely the existence of terrorist groups but the loss of unity between the Syrian people.
Shaikh Khalid said that the main reason for what is taking place in Syria was that a vacuum was created after 2011 that allowed terrorist groups like Daesh to establish strongholds, and then use those territories as a launching pad outside Syrian borders.
“This vacuum was filled not only by terrorist organizations, but also by regional states seeking their own hegemonic aims. Commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, routinely led regime forces and Hezbollah fighters in combat operations against Syrian rebel factions,” he said.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs stressed that the solution in Syria must be based on returning the Syrians to a state of unity as soon as possible, adding that Syrians must be given enough hope and belief to remain in Syria and work towards building a better future.
“The best way to achieve this is through the process outlined in the Geneva I peace conference. World powers along with regional states must work to set up a transitional governing body that preserves the civilian and military state institutions and includes all relevant Syrian groups, this can then pave the way for Syrians to decide the future of their country.
“We must approach this political solution with the same determination and effort as the fight against terrorists, only then can we achieve the desired results,” he said.
Shaikh Khalid said that the presence of Daesh in Syria is not an impediment to a political solution between the Syrians, it is what makes the necessity of a political solution all the more pressing.
In regards to the Daesh terrorist organization, the Foreign Minister expressed his regret of the continuing proliferation of the Daesh terrorist organization in the region that expanded its operations into places like Libya and Nigeria through declarations of loyalty by already established terrorist organizations and the establishment of so called ‘Wilayat’.
He pointed out that Daesh has also claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks on mosques in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, giving a glimpse of the type of organization Daesh could evolve into even if it is defeated militarily in Syria and Iraq, in addition Daesh was not the only terrorist threat we face in the region.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs said that Iran has provided sanctuary and financial support for those charged with conducting terrorist acts in Bahrain. It hosted Bahraini citizens in IRGC training camps where potential terrorists learn skills such as IED construction, marksmanship, and weapons smuggling. Iran has also conducted smuggling operations to bring in explosives and weapons including C-4, claymore mines, and AK-47 assault rifles.
He added that as a result, 439 IEDs have been found and safely disposed, or have exploded causing injuries killing 16 police officers and injuring thousands, affirming that these dangerous acts are no less a threat to than Daesh.
On the chances of improving relations with Iran, Shaikh Khalid said that the matter is pending on the behavior of Iran and its commitment to good neighborly relations as well as non-interference in the Kingdom’s internal affairs.
“Certainly not when Iranian officials publicly boast about having captured four Arab capitals through their ‘Iranian Islamic Revolution’,” he said.
He called on the international community must give priority, just as it did to contain, and hopefully pacify Iran’s nuclear program, to put an end to Iran’s interference in the affairs of regional states.
On developments in Yemen, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that the GCC is committed to continue its strategic role for the return of security and stability to Yemen, eradicate groups that turned against the country’s legitimacy and tried to destroy state institutions as well as reneged on their commitments to spread chaos and terror.
Shaikh Khalid pointed out that the GCC military intervention in Yemen was not taken lightly, it was the final option after running out of all diplomatic and political means, and that this intervention would end once security and peace return to Yemen.
“We simply could not stand back and allow an extremist proxy movement with ties to Iran and Hezbollah to take over Yemen,” he said.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs said that the GCC was as concerned as anyone about the humanitarian situation in Yemen and committed to doing everything it takes to improve the lives of Yemenis and to alleviate the immediate effects of the current conflict.
He praised the major role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the rest of the GCC states as well as the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre.
Shaikh Khalid urge the international community to join us in providing much needed aid and assistance, particularly since Aden airport was open and the Seaports were operational, and the only items not allowed into Yemen were weapons that could be used by the Houthis.
He added that the real obstacle in getting the aid to where its needed is the fighting in Houthi controlled areas, where Houthi rebels refuse to stop the fighting, or let any aid, or commercial goods through.
In regards to developments in Al Aqsa Mosque and continued attacked by the Israeli occupation authorities, the Foreign Minister held Israel responsible to the deterioration of the situation in Palestinian lands due to the continued Israeli violations of international laws that criminalize the harming of religious scantiest and ensure their protection.
He stressed the rejection of targeting Al Aqsa Mosque, calling for sufficient protection to the Palestinian people and safeguarding Al Aqsa Mosque.
In conclusion, Shaikh Khalid affirmed the commitment of the Kingdom of Bahrain by working with other countries to bolster security and peace as well as taking all measures that ensure maintaining peace in the region.