Resist US pressure, says Bahrain leader
Manama, July 9, 2011
A community leader has warned Bahrain against caving in to 'US pressure' over its pace of reforms.
In a Friday sermon, National Unity Assembly (NUA) president Dr Shaikh Abdullatif Al Mahmood claimed that the US is threatening to withdraw its Fifth Fleet from Bahrain and warned of a NUA protest outside its embassy.
'If the Bahraini regime is weak and unable to stop US pressures, then it has to admit it,' he said.
'Let these troops and facilities leave. We are ready to starve to death for the sake of our dignity and honour,' he said.
Dr Al Mahmood voiced confidence about the ongoing National Dialogue and said the bicameral system of legislature is best suited for Bahrain as it has been implemented for the last 10 years without any problems.
He also proposed that parliament should be given more powers after being agreed upon at the Dialogue.
Shura Council members must be appointed on the grounds of competence, experience and wisdom instead of sectarianism or nepotism, he said.
Dr Al Mahmood cautioned citizens against electing MPs who promote fanaticism or sectarianism.
Separately, former MP and religious scholar Shaikh Khalid Mohammed told a gathering in Busaiteen that Bahrain must resist US pressure.
Meanwhile, the US Embassy denied pressuring the Information Affairs Authority (IAA) to take action against a local journalist who had been writing articles critical of the US.
The NUA had expressed concern on Thursday over the IAA allegedly urging Al Watan newspaper journalist Yousef Al Binkhalil to stop his articles on the position of the US administration towards the crisis in Bahrain.
It is being claimed the US embassy was responsible.
'We understand that the IAA took a sovereign decision to enforce Bahraini Press and publication laws, and we recommend that individuals and organisations who have concerns take up the matter with the agency involved,' US Embassy public affairs officer Rachel Graaf said in a statement.
'The US has a long and distinguished history of defending the rights of individuals around the world to express their opinions, even when those opinions are critical of the US or its policies.'
The embassy said it maintains a strong relationship with many of Bahrain's journalists, and welcomes the opportunity to directly engage with any journalist who seeks information or clarification on US policies.-TradeArabia News Service