Bahrain has expelled a senior US diplomat, citing interference in the kingdom’s internal affairs by holding meetings with certain political parties to the detriment of others, Al-Arab Al-Yawm news agency reported.
The Bahraini Foreign Ministry said in a statement that US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Tom Malinowski is presently an “unwelcome” person in Bahrain and asked him to immediately leave the country.
The ministry’s statement said that holding meetings with certain political parties to the detriment of others “reveals an approach that discriminates amongst the people of this nation and is contrary to diplomatic norms and relations between countries”.
US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said Malinowski “remains in Bahrain”.
Agence France Presse quoted Psaki as saying: “He is on a visit to reaffirm and strengthen our bilateral ties and to support his royal majesty King Hamad’s reform and reconciliation efforts at an important time, particularly given events elsewhere in the region.”
She added that Malinowski’s visit “had been coordinated far in advance and warmly welcomed and encouraged by the government of Bahrain, which is well-aware that US government officials routinely meet with all officially-recognised political societies.”
The Bahraini foreign ministry’s statement noted that the government’s decision was based on the National Council’s recommendations during its extraordinary session in July 2013.
The statement stressed the strength of Bahrain’s relationships with the US and the need to protect these relations from any disturbances.