The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and the Kingdom of Bahrain on the occasion of the U.S.-Bahrain Strategic Dialogue in Washington, D.C.
His Excellency Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met on July 20 at the culmination of the third annual meeting of the U.S.-Bahrain Strategic Dialogue. The Strategic Dialogue operationalizes the enduring commitment the United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain have to bilateral and regional security, shared economic prosperity, people-to-people ties, and the principles upholding the international order. The United States and Bahrain reaffirmed their commitment to freedom of navigation in international waters, noting especially the importance of ensuring safe passage for commercial shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and condemned acts that put free navigation in jeopardy. The United States and Bahrain reiterated their shared commitment to deterring and confronting threats to the Kingdom of Bahrain and enhancing regional peace and security.
The Strategic Dialogue, held both virtually and in person during June and July, included four working groups covering the depth and breadth of bilateral cooperation. The Strategic Dialogue advanced joint efforts in regional security, maritime security, and countering emerging and transnational threats through new initiatives to expand counterterrorism assistance and training, cyber security, border security programs, and law enforcement collaboration.
Both sides decided to grow economic ties within the context of the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement, continuing discussions on trade-related matters, telecommunications, tourism, and new activities supporting energy efficiency and the transition to clean energy sources. Ahead of the COP 28 in the UAE, the United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain reiterated goals to combat climate change through deploying clean energy and innovations like carbon capture technologies. In support of this, both sides underlined their determination to maintain cooperation to develop the U.S. Trade Zone and expressed their intention to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Export-Import Bank of the United States and the Bahrain Ministry of Finance and National Economy to facilitate EXIM financing of U.S. exports to the Kingdom for strategic projects.
The United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain also enjoy comprehensive and growing educational and cultural exchanges. Both look forward to expanding opportunities for Bahrainis to study in the United States and participate in U.S. exchanges, and both sides hailed closer ties among U.S. and Bahraini universities. The United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain commended increased cooperation on youth talent development throughout the year and expressed their intention to sign an MOU on youth affairs. The Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities and the Department of State expressed their intention to sign a Statement on Intent in the Field of Cultural Heritage, and reinforced longstanding cooperation on cultural exchanges. The two sides also discussed ways to enhance media cooperation and the profession of journalism.
In connection to the Abraham Accords, Bahrain and the United States reaffirmed a commitment to furthering regional cooperation within the Negev Forum working groups, especially the regional security and health working groups that Bahrain and the United States co-chair. The Abraham Accords build on Bahrain’s continued progress in advancing tolerance coexistence, and the promotion of a multicultural society.
The open and practical nature of the Strategic Dialogue characterizes the decades-long U.S.-Bahrain friendship and security alliance. The conversations underscored the importance of shared values, including respect for the principle of sovereignty and international law embedded in the UN Charter and the obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the borders, territorial integrity or political independence of any state. Discussions noted the importance of universal values, human rights, and fundamental freedoms, building on the ongoing cooperation in the Human Rights Dialogue between the two countries. The two sides also continued conversations on countering trafficking in persons, and recognized Bahrain maintaining Tier 1 status for the sixth straight year in the annual U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report.
The United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain look forward to convening the Strategic Dialogue again in the future and to conducting follow up sessions to promote progress on specific initiatives. This bilateral mechanism reflects and reaffirms our nations’ close partnership, and the intention to advance shared priorities that build a secure, safe, peaceful and more prosperous future.