Washington Urges Bahrain To Reverse Latest Actions, Warns of Grave Consequences on Region
2016-07-02 - 3:16 ص
Bahrain Mirror: US State Department urged the Government of Bahrain to reverse their recent harmful actions, including the suspension of the opposition political society al-Wefaq, the extension of the prison sentence against al-Wefaq secretary general Sheikh Ali Salman, the detention of activist Nabeel Rajab, and the revocation of Sheikh Isa Qassim's citizenship.
In a daily press briefing held on Thursday (June 30, 2016), US Department of State Spokesperson, John Kirby, said: "We continue to urge the Government of Bahrain to reverse their recent "harmful actions", stressing that "the recent government actions against civil society will only lead to greater instability, with potentially grave consequences for not only Bahrain but also the broader region."
The comments on Bahrain are as follows:
Journalist: There's a bipartisan push in the Senate to stop selling arms to Bahrain because the senators believe doing so violates U.S. law. The State Department has criticized Bahrain for human rights violations. With this being the case, how is continuing arms supplies not a violation of U.S. law, or do you think it is at this point?
Kirby: Are you basing that on the fact that we got a letter from Congress, that question?
Journalist: Did you get a letter from - well, how is that -
Kirby: What I've said - we've seen reports of the letter, but we've not yet received it.
Journalist: But the arms supplies continue, and why do - why does the State -
Kirby: We continue to urge the Government of Bahrain to reverse their recent harmful actions. These, as you know, include the suspension of the opposition political society Al-Wefaq, the extension of the prison sentence against Wefaq secretary general Sheikh Ali Salman, the detention of activist Nabeel Rajab, and the revocation of citizenship of Sheikh Isa Qassim. As Secretary Kerry underscored to the Bahraini foreign minister, recent government actions against civil society will only lead to greater instability, with potentially grave consequences for not only Bahrain but also the broader region.
To your question, as you also well know, we had put restrictions on foreign military sales to Bahraini security forces recently. About a year ago, we lifted some but not all. And as I said about a week or so ago, we - we've proven in the past we're not afraid to put those kinds of limits in place if we feel like we need to, and we will continue to review our options going forward.
Journalist: But it is up to the State Department to determine Bahrain is a systematic violator of human rights. What does Bahrain have - what else does Bahrain have to do for the State Department to make that determination and stop arms supplies?
Kirby: I'm not going to - I won't speculate about specific determinations one way or the other. I think I've been very clear about what we expect of Bahrain's leaders. And I think we've been very clear about our concerns about very specific recent actions that they've taken, and we've been very clear about urging Bahrain to reverse those exact actions, every one that I just mentioned. So you ask me: What do they need to do? They can start by reversing those actions, which we have said to them in numerous ways. And again, I'm not going to speculate one way or the other about where things go. What we want to see happen right now is for them to reverse those actions.
Journalist: But why does the U.S. continue arms sales despite the concerns that you have voiced?
Kirby: We lifted - we had stopped them altogether, as you know. We lifted - a partial element of them to help Bahrain deal with real, tangible counterterrorism threats that they face. But we didn't take all of it away, and there were still some in place over some of the interior ministry police forces, because we believe that there still - there was more work that needed to be done. And we still believe there's more work to - needed done. And that restriction is still in place, and I won't speculate going forward about what decisions we might or might not make. What we're focused on right now are the decisions that Bahrain has made recently and seeing those decisions reversed.
Journalist: But are you at all concerned that Bahraini authorities may use some of the U.S.-provided weapons to crack down on the opposition?
Kirby: We always have concerns about the end use of items that are inside the Foreign Military Sales program and there are often - and I won't - I can't cite chapter and verse in this case, but there are limits placed upon that, end-use limits that are placed upon articles that - in the Foreign Military Sales program. And again, what was lifted was certain items - and I can get you the list of specific items that were lifted, but certain items that were geared towards counterterrorism efforts and counterterrorism capabilities that Bahrain continued to need. But yes, there's limits, of course, on that.
Journalist: But just to be clear, at present you do not think that continuing -
Kirby: I'm not going -
Journalist: - arms supplies to Bahrain violates U.S. law at this point?
Kirby: I have answered your question, and we're going to continue to review Bahrain's actions going forward. And I'm not going to speculate one way or another about decisions that haven't been made yet.
التعليقات المنشورة لا تعبر بالضرورة عن رأي الموقع
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