Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Bahraini MP Criticizes British Government for Harboring Oppositionists | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Dubai, Asharq Al-Awsat- A Bahraini member of parliament called on his country’s government to take a new stand on its relationship with Britain. He strongly criticized what he called London’s foreign policy towards Bahrain.

Sheikh Jasim al-Saidi, deputy chairman of the Bahraini House of Representatives’ legislative and legal affairs committee, strongly criticized Britain’s policy, way of dealing with Bahraini affairs, and “continuous support for some political groups that broke away from the fold and work against the Bahraini leadership and people from London.”

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat by telephone, MP Al-Saidi said, “The Bahraini people are not happy with the way the British Government deals with Bahraini opposition parties. They (Bahraini oppositionists) incite to hatred and violence and cause sedition among the Bahrainis. Even though these practices are against British laws, we notice that the British Government turns a blind eye to them.”

After King Hamad Bin-Isa Al Khalifa succeeded his father in governing the country in 1999, he released all political detainees and brought back all those who were expelled outside of Bahrain. He also gave them back their passports that had been withdrawn from them as part of a package of political reforms in the framework of a reform plan that also included the restoration of the parliamentary life.

Most of the oppositionists returned from abroad, including Dr Majid al-Alawi, a former oppositionist and current minister of labor, and spokesman for the opposition Dr Mansur al-Jamri who is in charge of a local newspaper close to the opposition Accord Group. However, a small number of oppositionists are still abroad and use London as their base.

Al-Saidi asserted that he will present evidences to the British ambassador to Bahrain, so that the ambassador may see them and inform his country’s government of them.

He said when he and a group of MP’s and citizens meet with the British ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain, he will present these documents to the embassy “to express the Bahraini people’s protest against these offences and incitement against the homeland, leadership, and people.”

In reply to a question on what his country’s government asks the British Government to do, Al-Saidi said: “A stand must be taken, commensurate with the magnitude of the damage caused by Britain’s official sympathy with personalities who incite to hatred and encourage violence.”

He called on the Bahraini Government to reconsider Bahraini- British relations and expressed his conviction that these relations are “not constructive and they harm the vital and strategic interests of Bahrain.”

Al-Saidi noted the need to establish a kind of political balance in Bahrain’s foreign relations with several important European states. He said history and events have shown that these states are friendly and base their relations on mutual respect in light of common interests. He added that these states, such as Germany, France, and Italy, refuse to harm their relations with Bahrain.

Al-Saidi asserted the importance of reinforcing Bahrain’s relations with Berlin, Paris, and Rome in the future to bolster ties and openness to the world in order to achieve security and stability, renounce terrorism, violence, and hatred, and deal tolerantly with all parties in a reasonable and rational way to protect man’s rights and defend the achievements.

MP Al-Saidi says he notices double standards in Britain’s foreign policy towards the Kingdom of Bahrain and its people. He pointed out: “At a time when the British Government says it is eager to reinforce the relations between Manama and London, we notice that it disregards the fact that those with whom it meets violate the law and the ancient Arab norms.”

Al-Saidi criticized the easy way in which London-based Bahraini political figures are granted British nationality, the right to political asylum, and financial aid.

He said that on many occasions, King Hamad Bin-Isa invited Bahraini activists in London to return to their homeland and begin to serve their society and join the political process with the aim of developing the society along with all sections of the spectrum, but this invitation has not been accepted to date.