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British Defence Secretary visits Bahrain to discuss fight against Islamic State

The King of Bahrain, King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, received British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and Chief of Defence Staff General Sir Nick Houghton on Monday at the Safriya Palace in the capital of Manama, Anadolu news agency reported.

The news agency cited Bahraini reports that the king discussed with his guests the latest developments in the region and ways to maintain security and stability, but did not give any details on the duration of the British minister’s visit or his next destination.

During their meeting, the two parties reviewed the bilateral relations between the two countries in all fields, especially in the areas of military and defence coordination.

The British Defence Secretary arrived to Manama on Monday, coming from Saudi Arabia where he met with Defence Minister Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud in Jeddah. The official Saudi news agency reported that they also discussed mutual cooperation between the two countries and ways to support and strengthen their relations, as well as the latest developments in the Middle East.

The British Defence Secretary is touring the Gulf at a time when the region is witnessing diplomatic moves to form an international alliance to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Saudi Arabia hosted a regional meeting on 11 September with the participation of ten Arab countries, as well as Turkey and the US, to discuss the alliance’s strategy to fight the Islamic State.

Bahrain is scheduled to host another high-level intergovernmental conference in November to discuss ways to strengthen efforts to combat financing terrorism and drying up the Islamic State’s funding sources.

British Prime Minister David Cameron promised to continue the war against the Islamic State after the radical organisation released on 13 September a video clip showing the beheading of British hostage David Haynes, 44, who had been held in Syria since March 2013.

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