Bahrain's demand to have gov't official at private meetings is "unacceptable": US

US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his deep concern to Bahrain Foreign Minister over the expulsion of a US diplomat

US Secretary of State John Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday expressed his deep concern to Bahrain Foreign Minister Khaled Al Khalifa over the expulsion of a US diplomat for meeting with an opposition leader and over charges brought against the politician.

A senior State Department official said Kerry, who was in Vienna for talks between Iran and major powers over curbing Tehran's nuclear program, spoke by telephone with the Bahraini minister.

Bahrain expelled Tom Malinowski, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, last week, saying he had "intervened flagrantly" in the country's internal affairs by holding the meeting.

Kerry "reiterated our view that the Government of Bahrain's demand to have a Foreign Ministry representative present at private meetings between US diplomats and Bahraini political figures is an unacceptable requirement that runs contrary to international diplomatic protocol," the official said.

The official said Kerry also expressed concern about charges against Al Wefaq party leader Sheikh Ali Salman and his political assistant, Khalil Al Marzouq for holding an illegal meeting. The Bahraini authorities said they should have obtained permission to meet Malinowski.

The official said Kerry told the Bahraini minister that "our actions should be consistent with our strong bilateral relationship."

Bahrain is one of Washington's main regional allies and hosts the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet. But the Gulf state has bristled at American criticism over its human rights record since suppressing a popular uprising in 2011.

The US State Department summoned a senior envoy from Bahrain - the chargé d'affaires of its embassy in Washington - last Tuesday to formally protest Malinowski's expulsion.

A court in Bahrain last month cleared Marzouq of terrorism charges. The island kingdom is ruled by a Sunni Muslim royal family, but the majority of its population are Shi'ites, whose political leaders have demanded democratic reforms.

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Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: Jack Straw

Oh...the hypocrisy is mind boggling. The US is a nation whose standard operations policy is to bug/spy on all their allies, friends and enemies equally ... obviously they don't need a rep in the same room ... they probably know the color of the underwear of all seated and what they all had for breakfast.

AND...as per this bugging Angela Merkel's phone is acceptable international diplomatic protocol!!!!Come on guys...put a sock in it.

Posted by: Lloyd

First of all we dont want USA approval to thrown rotten spies out of Bahrain.....your 5th fleet isat our mercy...how would you manage your operations with out a port to callon...you have been kicked out of KSA and UAE ports so shut up and follow the rules of the host nation...stay clear of internal issues....

Posted by: Geoffrey

What absolute drivel and nonsense. The US 5th Fleet at the mercy of Bahrain? I have not stopped laughing. You depend on the Americans for protection...

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