His Excellency Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Derasat) received a high-level military delegation from the US National Defense University (Keystone) in the presence of US Deputy Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain Aimee Cutrona.
At the beginning of the meeting, Dr. Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa welcomed the visiting delegation, stressing the historical ties and close partnership between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States. These ties are based on solid foundations and extend back to more than a century.
During the meeting, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Derasat gave a brief presentation on the Bahraini-American partnership. In the first part of his speech, he reviewed the strong ties between the two friendly countries, which are based on strong and growing cooperation in all political, economic, military, security, cultural and research spheres. The Kingdom of Bahrain is proud of the strong cooperation between the two countries which stem from sharing common goals and values in maintaining security and stability and promoting development and prosperity.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees cited the hosting by the Kingdom of Bahrain of the Central Command Facilities of the US Navy and the Fifth Fleet as one good example of such cooperation. Bahrain is also designated as a major non-NATO ally of the US and it is a partner in regional and international military alliances to combat terrorism and guarantee the freedom of navigation and marine security. It opposes interference in the internal affairs of other countries and other practices that are outside the norms of international law. In this regard, he praised the active and noble role of the Bahrain Defense Force in maintaining regional stability and protecting the interests of the Kingdom.
Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said that the meeting of His Majesty the King of the Kingdom of Bahrain in Riyadh with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the US-GCC summit and Arab Islamic American Summit in May 2017 highlighted the depth and strength of the strategic alliance and partnership between the two friendly countries, as well as the eagerness to grow these relations even further based on mutual respect, understanding and mutual interests. He also cited the fruitful and successful visit of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander, First Deputy Prime Minister, to Washington last November, and the signing of US$ 10 billion cooperation agreements as another step towards consolidating and advancing the economic and investment relations. The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries, which came into force in 2006, is a solid foundation for increasing and the diversification of investments to capitalize upon the competitive advantages of the Kingdom of Bahrain and its leading position in the field of the new digital economy.
In the second part of his presentation, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees highlighted the major achievements, development and reforms implemented in the Kingdom of Bahrain under the wise leadership of His Majesty the King. He pointed out in this regard that the reform scheme of His Majesty is a comprehensive and ongoing project. Over the last two decades, Bahrain presented itself as a model in economic and human development. Next month, there will be free and fair elections in the Kingdom, which come as a continuation of the progressive national march, democratic process and popular participation under the rule of law and the separation of powers.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees talked about the efforts of the Kingdom of Bahrain in combatting extremism and terrorism saying that “Bahrain has always been a firm and active partner in the fight against terrorism” and that “It itself has suffered from terrorism supported by foreign powers”. In this context, he praised the designation by the US State Department of the Iran-backed “Al-Ashtar Brigades” as a terrorist organization, and the placing of a number of its leaders on the terrorist list.
Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa stressed that the Kingdom of Bahrain supports the US strategy towards Iran in standing against the dangerous behaviors of the mullahs of Iran that undermine the security and stability in a number of countries in the region, especially Yemen and Syria. He hailed the US efforts aimed at preserving regional and international security and peace by protecting the region from the dangers of the Iranian ballistic missile program and combatting terrorist groups.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of “Derasat” praised the high standing of the Kingdom of Bahrain among other countries of the world in the area of tolerance and moderation. Bahrain is a model for peaceful coexistence in its broadest sense which is not limited to just religious freedom but also includes reforms, sustainable development, empowerment of women and youth and the safeguarding of human rights without any discrimination. It was therefore not surprising that the Kingdom of Bahrain came on the top of the list of many international indicators. Bahrain was the first country in the Middle East and North Africa to be among Tier 1 countries in the US Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report last June. Furthermore, Chief Executive Officer of the Labor Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), Chairman of the National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons Mr. Osama bin Abdulla Al Abssi was among 10 persons from around the world honored for their work in this field.
To conclude his briefing, Dr. Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa expressed the readiness of the “Derasat” Center to enhance its cooperation with the US National Defense University in the area of thought and research as part of the Center’s effort in increasing the cooperation with renown US and international think tanks, considering that Derasat is a leading research center in the Middle East.
For his part, the head of the US National Defense University delegation thanked the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Derasat Center Dr. Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa for the comprehensive brief on relations between the two friendly countries and the shared objectives of supporting stability in the region and combating terrorism. He hailed the contributions of the Kingdom of Bahrain towards confronting these challenges, as well as the ongoing and promising achievements in the Kingdom.
At the end of the meeting, the head of the visiting US delegation presented a commemorative gift to Dr. Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, hoping to see more constructive meetings between the two sides.