Manama confident Tehran ties will improve


Foreign ministers hold rare public meeting to discuss bilateral relations
  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief

Manama: The foreign ministers of Bahrain and Iran have held a meeting in rare public direct contact since their diplomatic relations plummeted in March last year.
The meeting between Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa and Ali Akbar Salehi in Tehran covered the agenda of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit, with both leaders stressing the significance of reinforcing the movement, enhancing its work and fulfilling the interests of the member countries, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.
The meeting also covered bilateral relations and ways to improve them for the sake of both countries, the official news agency said.
In Iran, the media reported that Shaikh Khalid said that Bahrain was optimistic about relations between Manama and Tehran and that the history of their bilateral ties is well known and that they have been transparent for decades.
Shaikh Khalid reportedly said that both capitals have been able throughout the years to overcome “issues” and expressed confidence that “it will be the case this time as well”.
The Bahraini minister is heading his country’s delegation to the 16th summit of the movement.
Manama this month reinstated its ambassador its Tehran following a 17-month absence.
“The ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the Islamic Republic of Iran has returned to his work in Tehran,” Shaikh Khalifa said on his Twitter account.
The minister did not elaborate on the issue, but he added that it was “in line with other sisterly countries”.
Manama recalled its ambassador, Rashid Al Dossary, on March 15, 2011 after it accused Tehran of “blatant interference in Bahrain’s domestic affairs”.
Iran had criticised the arrival of troops from the Peninsula Shield, the military arm of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in Bahrain.
The Iranian stance and its criticism of the GCC states, particularly Saudi Arabia, were also rejected by the six-member council.
Tehran recalled its envoy in Manama in a tit-for-tat move a day after the Bahraini envoy was summoned home.
However, Tehran has not asked its top diplomat in Manama to resume his work in the Bahraini capital even though the embassy has remained open.