Minister Abdullatif Al-Zayani Nowhere to be Seen When any Crisis Hits
2020-04-06 - 10:39 p
Bahrain Mirror ((Exclusive): People inside and outside Bahrain are reacting and speaking up about the case of Bahrainis stranded outside the kingdom, except for Bahraini Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullatif Al-Zayani, who preferred to remain silent since his appointment.
3,027 nationals found themselves stuck outside their country, half of whom in Iran, after the suspension of flights. These citizens didn't witness any significant reaction from Bahrain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, its embassies or representatives.
In an odd measure, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa directed, March 6, 2020, the Jaffaria Endowments Directorate to bear the responsibility of the crisis of Bahraini nationals stranded abroad, and not the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The role of the Ministry was limited to a hotline to register the names of Bahrainis who want to return to Bahrain. The crisis took an external and media turn after two Gulf States, Oman and Qatar, found themselves to be inserted in this crisis.
On Friday (March 27, 2020), a plane affiliated with Gulf Air refused to transport 76 citizens to Manama from Muscat, which irritated Omanis.
One day later, Qatar, which has severed ties with Bahrain, announced that it will take care of the accommodation of 31 Bahrainis who were heading to Oman, noting that Bahrain refused to receive its nationals.
Under the pressure and embarrassment Bahrain was subjected to, Minister Al-Zayani made a phone call (March 30, 2020) with his Omani counterpart Yusuf bin Alawi to try and reduce the shock of Omanis.
This was the first official appearance of the Minister in charge since the crisis erupted more than a month ago.
The absence of Al-Zayani from the scene of the crisis that concerns Bahrainis was striking. However, no one seems to know the reasons behind his absence.
He also acted in a similar manner in an issue affecting Gulf nationals. The man remained silent during the severest crisis the Gulf Cooperation Council witnessed during his tenure as the council's Secretary-General.
On June 5, 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain announced severing their ties with Qatar and imposed an air and sea blockade on Doha in an atmosphere similar to the start of an all-out aggression, which the Emir of Kuwait later confirmed.
Al- Zayani, the then Council's Secretary-General, remained silent for more than 5 months since the outbreak of the most serious crisis in the history of the Council after the invasion of Kuwait, before saying in a press statement that "resolving the crisis doesn't fall under his responsibility".
The Council experienced another crisis when the Gulf States withdrew their ambassadors from Doha in March 2014. At that time, Minister Al-Zayani also remained silent for months.
In both of the crises, the Kuwaiti and Omani diplomacy took the role of Al-Zayani in bringing views closer, while the man totally disappeared from the scene just as if the post was vacant.
Al-Zayani failed, with distinction, in his job as Secretary-General and left the Secretariat two months before the end of his term, handing over a heavy legacy to his successor, Kuwaiti academic Nayef Al-Hajraf, and taking another office after Bahrain's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.
Al-Hajraf will have to make great efforts to restore confidence in the Council's General Secretariat and try to bring the views of the parties closer together. Meanwhile, it seems that the stranded Bahrainis should be prepared to stay for a long period away from their homeland in the presence of such a foreign minister whom we only hear about but not see.