US State Secretary John Kerry Urged Bahraini Counterpart to Implement Necessary Reforms

2016-06-24 - 10:20 م

Bahrain Mirror: The United States Department of State Spokesperson, John Kirby, revealed that US Foreign Secretary John Kerry in his latest conversation with his Bahraini counterpart spoke of Washington's concerns about Manama's recent actions and decisions that it has found unhelpful to the Gulf kingdom's own success.

In a daily press briefing held on Thursday (June 23, 2016), Kirby noted that the conversation wasn't only about the latest US report on Bahrain's implementation of the BICI recommendations, adding that Kerry urged the Government of Bahrain to implement necessary reforms needed in the country.

When asked whether there's been any response or any kind of action to remediate or alleviate the problems that continue to exist in Bahrain, Kirby stressed that he "can't point to something specifically that has been done to remedy or to lessen our concerns."

On Wednesday (June 22, 2016), Kirby revealed that the State Department had handed the long-awaited report on Bahrain's implementation of the BICI recommendations to the Congress. Portions of the reports and reactions to it were heavily circulated by news agencies and media outlets since its announcement.

During the press conference on Wednesday, Kirby confirmed that there are key recommendations that have not been fully implemented by Bahrain. Limitations on political activism and peaceful assembly, lack of due process, and the criminalization of the exercise of free expression continue to undermine the progress Bahrain has made since 2011.

Kirby further stressed that the recent actions by the Bahrain government call into question Bahrain's commitment not only to implementation of the BICI - the commission of inquiry's report - but also to the core concepts of inclusiveness and respect for fundamental rights that Bahrain first committed to 16 years ago.

"Moreover, we are concerned that the intensified crackdown on civil society actors will only lead to greater instability and strengthen the influence of outside actors. We continue to urge the Government of Bahrain to implement fully the recommendations in the report which was accepted by the - which were accepted, excuse me, by the king in 2011, and to, more broadly, reverse recent harmful actions," he added.

Following a heated debate with journalists at the press conference, Kirby said that he's "not going to speculate about specific consequences at this time, but again, I'll go back to what I said at the outset. We urge Bahrain to make the necessary reforms."

"So I'm not going to predict repercussions or consequences with any specificity today except to say that this is an ongoing dialogue we're going to continue to have, and I'm not going to get ahead of decisions that haven't been made yet."

One journalist asked whether the report contained options to change Washington's policy towards Bahrain such as imposing any consequences for their behavior, Kirby said it wasn't about adjudicating or speculating or offering recommendations about specific consequences going forward.

"I think we've shown in the past that we aren't afraid to make decisions that change the level of cooperation that we've had, or have had with Bahrain in the past," he explained.

"Now, are we at that point right now? I don't know and I don't have anything to announce today. But I can tell you that - as I said, this is a subject of constant conversation and concern here at the State Department, constant dialogue and discussion privately and publicly, and it will remain so."

"And I just won't get ahead of decisions that haven't been made, but obviously we have options at our disposal," Kirby added.

He pointed out that "all of this could be resolved very easily should Bahrain just make the necessary decisions."

"And so that's what we really want to see happen. Nobody wants to see it get to a point where other decisions have to be made."

Another journalist asked if there is any concern at all that the fact that the report was so late might have contributed to these recent abuses.

"As I said, on the recent actions we've issued separate statements concerning our concerns over these developments," Kirby explained.

The journalists further insisted on finding out the US stance regarding recent developments in Bahrain and whether the report included latest negative events that took place there.

"Look, it's a report to Congress, and if Congress - if members of Congress wish to make it public, that's their decision. But it's not our call to do that," said Kirby adding that he will try to find out what he can on the matter.

Tags: John Kirby, John Kerry, US, BICI Report

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