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Alistair Burt

UK denies role in Bahrain’s security action

Manama, June 19, 2013

A senior British government official has categorically denied that the UK could be held responsible for the actions of Bahrain's security forces in February 2011, a report said.

British Foreign Office Minister for Mena Alistair Burt was giving evidence during the sixth and final session of a parliamentary inquiry into the UK's relations with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, according to a report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.

"There is no logical connection between what the Saudi authorities were asked to do by the government of Bahrain and the GCC and human rights abuses," he said in response to suggestions that British-made armoured vehicles sent to Bahrain from Saudi Arabia could have exacerbated the situation.

Speaking during the session at Portcullis House in Westminster, London, in front of a committee of senior MPs chaired by Richard Ottaway, Burt also said while Iran had exploited the situation in Bahrain it did not pose a specific threat.

"I'm very conscious that there are some in Bahrain that would like to see Iran as the source of all the problems, I don't think that's fair or correct," he said.

"Our evidence has tended to suggest that after the event of February 2011, the Iranians were not active in Bahrain in instigating it, but they did exploit it. There are many issues in Bahrain that can be settled amongst themselves and it's not an excuse for the Bahraini authorities to say there is some engagement or involvement with the Iranians."

Parliamentary under-secretary of state for the Ministry of Defence Dr Andrew Murrison also gave evidence at the session and stated the inquiry has not damaged relations between the UK with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Several prominent British figures who have lived and worked in the Gulf previously submitted extensive written testimonials as evidence to the House of Commons inquiry.

Several senior British MPs last month travelled to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to meet prominent expatriates and opposition figures as part of the inquiry. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | UK | Security | British Foreign Office |

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