Bahrain extends probe into foreign interference in its affairs

Investigation comes as meeting between GCC foreign ministers and their EU counterparts next week could be postponed

(AFP/Getty Images)

(AFP/Getty Images)

The Bahrain government has extended a probe into foreign interference in Bahrain’s affairs, it was reported.

The inquiry is underway to see whether individuals and institutions received foreign aid to carry out activities which violate the law, Gulf Daily News reported.

His Majesty King Hamad last week directed the ministries and government departments to undertake the probe.

Under its expanded scope, scholarships, training programs and competence-building initiatives provided by foreign think tanks, institutes, centres or foundations for government and non-governmental establishments will also be scrutinised.

Stringent regulations will also be enforced to ensure such schemes are not exploited as a cover to interfere in Bahrain's internal affairs

Meanwhile, a top-level meeting between GCC foreign ministers and their EU counterparts next week could be postponed, allegedly due to a controversial UN statement on the human rights situation in Bahrain, the GDN reported.

The meeting was scheduled to take place in Luxembourg next Monday but GCC representatives are now reported to be boycotting the talks in protest over a statement that was read out at a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last week.

Endorsed by 46 countries, this statement praised some "positive steps" that had been taken in Bahrain but expressed concerns over reported cases of violence, harassment and ill-treatment and criticised the fact that the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry's (BICI) recommendations had allegedly not been implemented in full.

A Bahrain delegation present at the Geneva meeting hit back at these claims, saying the statement “failed to take into account the tangible improvements officially documented” and was undermining “the unrelenting and sincere efforts undertaken by Bahrain to carry out its human rights obligations”.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton’s spokesman Michael Mann confirmed to the GDN that next week’s meeting had been “postponed”, but gave no reason for the decision.

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