US concerns on decision of the administrative court in Bahrain to suspend the activities of Al Wefaq National Islamic Society for three months

SHAFAQNA – US state department Daily Breifing Press said about Bahrain : General Allen and Ambassador McGurk were in Bahrain today, where they met with the King, the Crown Prince, and senior Bahraini Government and military officials to discuss our shared efforts to degrade and defeat ISIL. The delegation thanked Bahraini interlocutors for Bahrain’s participation in coalition airstrikes in Syria. They also noted important steps Bahrain has taken to halt the flow of foreign fighters, including monitoring ISIL sympathizers and declaring it illegal for Bahraini citizens to fight abroad.

General Allen and Ambassador McGurk also discussed planning for the counterterrorist financing conference to be held on November 9th in Manama. Countering ISIL’s finances is a key line of effort in our comprehensive strategy, and we’re grateful for Bahrain’s leadership in bringing the coalition together to discuss areas of cooperation on this critical issue, including the full implementation of recent UN Security Council resolutions.

General Allen and Ambassador McGurk also visited U.S. Naval facilities in Manama, thanking the personnel there for who make – for their work of making coalition air missions possible. In their bilateral meetings with Bahraini officials, General Allen and Ambassador McGurk conveyed our gratitude for Bahrain’s hosting of those facilities. They’re now en route to Doha and will continue to Abu Dhabi tomorrow and Muscat on Thursday.

With that, hello Lara. Let’s go to what’s on your mind.


QUESTION: Just quickly – I wasn’t going to bring this up at the top, but since we’re talking about Bahrain, I’m wondering if you all had any reaction to the court decision today shutting down the main Shia opposition group and if that came up during the conversations with General Allen and Ambassador McGurk.

MS. PSAKI: I’m happy to check with his team on that specific question. I didn’t have a chance to talk with them this morning. Broadly speaking, we are concerned by today’s decision of the administrative court in Bahrain to suspend the activities of Al Wefaq National Islamic Society for three months on technical grounds. Such a move runs contrary to fostering an environment of political inclusion. We’re following the case closely and understand that the society plans to appeal the decision.

QUESTION: That puts the U.S. in kind of an awkward position, doesn’t it, if you’re trying to work with Bahrain on one hand to get support to fight ISIS, and on the other hand Bahrain is shutting down a democratic process in the country?

MS. PSAKI: Well, as you know, Lara, there are many countries, including Bahrain, where we have differences with. We’ve spoken out about human rights issues and others, and we certainly will continue to do that as we see fit. We were also – let me just note while I have the opportunity – disappointed by the opposition’s decision to boycott the elections. We’ve brought – we’ve urged broad participation in Bahrain’s upcoming parliamentary elections as an important and public means of demonstrating inclusiveness.

But with any relationship, strength is shown by being able and willing to express concerns and differences where you have them, both through private, diplomatic channels when appropriate and at times through public channels when appropriate.

QUESTION: Jen, how do you view the timing, especially that General Allen was there when they took the decision or announced it?

MS. PSAKI: I wouldn’t make any connection on the timing. I don’t have any particular analysis on that.

Do we have any more on Bahrain, or should we move on?

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