Trump’s US Ambassador to Bahrain Nominee Expresses Concern over Bahraini Gov’t Actions against Nonviolent Opposition
2017-09-13 - 10:05 p
Bahrain Mirror: Donald Trump's nominee to be Ambassador to Kingdom of Bahrain Justin Siberell expressed Washington's concern with Bahraini government's actions against nonviolent political and human rights actors.
In a statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday (September 12, 2017), Siberell said that the United States continues "to urge the Government of Bahrain to take steps to ensure inclusive elections in 2018".
Touching on the Qatar crisis, Siberell said that Washington continues to encourage a rapid resolution to the ongoing dispute among the GCC states.
For his part, SFRC Chairman Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) stressed that there is suppression practiced by the ruling Sunni Al Khalifa family against Shiite citizens in the country, asking how the ambassador would act in this complicated situation.
Senator Ben Cardin highlighted that Bahrain is a strategic partner of the United States, but there is concern about the government's treatment of the Shia in Bahrain, adding that the ambassador should be clear with them. He further stressed that Washington wants strategic partners but at the same time should talk to them frankly about how they deal with human rights issues and basic freedoms such as freedom of expression. These conditions affect the stability of Bahrain, and we want a stable strategic partner, he said.
Speaking of the latest arms deal with Bahrain, Senator Corker said that arms sales should not be directly linked to human rights issues, adding that arms sales to Bahrain were approved prior to withholding consent on future Gulf sales in response to the ongoing Qatar dispute.
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