Bahrain dismisses reports on Arab mediation with Iran

Manama: Bahrain has dismissed reports on Gulf and Arab mediations with Iran as “plain lies.”

“The reports are fabricated and we do stress that there are no mediation efforts between Bahrain and Iran on any issue,” said Sameera Rajab, the state minister for information affairs and the spokesperson for the government.

“There are sides that benefit from disseminating the blatant lies on the existence of a mediation. Bahrain relies on its own people on domestic matters. This is a purely internal issue and we will solve it through our own ways,” she said on Sunday as she gave the first live brief on the cabinet session.

Bahrain has been trying to break a two-year-long political deadlock that resulted from sharp divergences between pro- and anti-government Bahrainis over events that unfolded in the country in February and March 2011. A new round of national dialogue was launched on February 10 to address political issues.

Iran loomed large in the Bahrain stalemate amid accusations by Manama of blatant interference by Tehran in its domestic affairs and relations between the two countries have plummeted to their lowest level in decades.

Reports about a mediation drive to ease the tension between the two capitals have often emerged, but Bahrain said the reports were false.

Last week, a report claimed that Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s foreign minister, had requested Algeria where he was on an official visit to use its good relations with Iran to launch mediations between Manama and Tehran.

However, Shaikh Khalid rejected the report as “not rue and lacking credibility” and insisted that no such request had been made.

“A brother does not mediate between his brother and a foreigner,” Shaikh Khalid was quoted as saying when he was asked at a press conference about the tension between Bahrain and Iran and the chances of Manama requesting Algiers to mediate with Tehran.

“All countries can however convey Bahrain’s position to Iran so that the facts on the ground are obvious,” he said.

In February, Bahrain and fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, rapped a suggestion by Tehran to include developments in Manama in the nuclear talks between Iran and a six-nation group made up of the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China.

The GCC dismissed the call as “further evidence of Iranian interference in the domestic affairs of Arab countries and its attempts to undermine their security.”

By Gulf News


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