US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Bahrain on Friday, the first leg of a tour of the Gulf’s petro-kingdoms, an AFP journalist said.
According to a spokesman for the State Department, partnerships with these Arab countries are essential for the protection of the world’s energy supply, the fight against “radical Islamic terrorism” and the retreat of “Iranian aggression”.
In Bahrain, headquarters of the Fifth Fleet of the United States, Mr. Pompeo must have a working lunch with King Hamad, Crown Prince Salman and his counterpart, Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, according to his schedule.
Bahrain is “an ardent supporter” to fight “Iran’s malicious efforts” in the region, said the spokesman for the State Department.
Just before the arrival of the head of the US diplomacy, the Bahraini authorities rejected a UN appeal to release human rights defender Nabil Rajab, who was sentenced for tweets denouncing the war in Yemen. alleged cases of torture in Bahraini prisons.
It is unclear whether Mr. Pompeo will discuss the human rights situation in this monarchy during his visit.
Before the Gulf, the head of the American diplomacy went to Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.
After Bahrain, it will go to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait, all of which are part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
“A united GCC is the backbone” of regional security and is “essential to counter the greatest threat” to regional stability: “the Iranian regime,” said a US spokesman while the United States does not stop referring to Iran as the common enemy.
Iran is the main regional rival of Saudi Arabia, a close ally of the United States.
Created in 1981, the GCC has been severely shaken since 2017 by a serious internal diplomatic crisis.
Three of its members – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – broke diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed an embargo on him accusing him of supporting extremist groups and moving closer to Iran. .
Qatar categorically denies supporting extremist movements by claiming that its opponents are seeking to put its foreign policy under guardianship.
Kuwait and the United States have tried several mediations that have not been successful so far.
In the Gulf, Mr. Pompeo will also speak about the war in Yemen and the humanitarian crisis that he attributes to “Iranian-backed Houthi rebels”, as well as the inter-emyan peace process initiated last month in Sweden, according to an American spokesman.