Bahrain denies inviting back US official after diplomatic spat

Senior Bahrain official refutes US claim that Tom Malinowski can return just weeks after being ordered to leave kingdom
Bahrain denies inviting back US official after diplomatic spat
Tom Malinowski, US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour. (Getty Images)
By Staff writer
Sat 30 Aug 2014 01:29 AM

Bahrain has denied claims made by the US Department of State that it has invited Tom Malinowski to return to the Gulf kingdom, less than two months after being ordered to leave in a diplomatic spat.

Abdulla Abdullatif Abdulla, Bahrain's Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour said Malinowski had not been invited back.

His comments to Bahrain Press Agency were in response to a statement made by the spokesperson for the US Department of State during a press briefing earlier this week.

Abdulla said that current contacts between Bahrain and the United States aim to "overcome the effects of Malinowski’s recent visit and to ensure the deep-rooted ties of friendship between the two countries in all fields are not affected".

He added that the remarks made by the US Department of State spokesperson carried "several inaccuracies and errors".

In July, Bahrain ordered Malinowski to leave the kingdom immediately because he had "intervened flagrantly" in the country's internal affairs, labelling him "persona non grata" after he held meetings with an opposition political party.

Bahrain is a US ally in a volatile region and has long provided a base for the US Navy's Fifth Fleet. But at the same it faces criticism over its record on human rights.

The US said at the time that it was "deeply concerned" about Bahrain's dismissal of Malinowski.

In comments published by BNA, Abdulla stressed that the kingdom did not need "outside observers" to assess its progress and policies.

He also cautioned the spokesperson for the Department of State to be more cautious when making statements in the future.

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