July 7, 2014 (TSR) – The Kingdom of Bahrain has ordered the expulsion of a top U.S. diplomat for interference in the country’s internal affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Monday.
Tom Malinowski, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour who was confirmed by U.S. Senate for the job on April 2014 to advance human rights around the world, is now considered a persona non grata and said that he must leave the Kingdom immediately.
The ministry attributed its decision to Malinowski’s meddling in the domestic affairs of Bahrain and to holding meetings with only one side of the country’s components at the expense of others, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported on Monday evening.
“His activities included holding meetings with one party, leaving out others who represent different parts of society,” the statement said.
The statement said that such meetings “segregate” the people of the nation. His actions, added the statement, “run counter to conventional diplomatic norms.”
Reports said that Malinowski on Sunday met with members of Shiite opposition group Al Wifaq, which has staged frequent anti- government protests in order to gain more political rights.
“Such activities are contrary to diplomatic norms and relations between states,” the statement added.
According to the ministry, the US official attitude indicated a discriminatory approach towards the citizens of the nation and clashes with diplomatic norms and natural relations between states.
The ministry added that its decision was based on a recommendation by the bicameral parliament taken at an extraordinary session held in July 2013.
But the statement reaffirmed Bahrain’s strong and solid relations with the United States, underlining that the progress and development of the bilateral ties should not be affected by such unfortunate acts.
Malinowski was ordered to leave after meeting with Bahrain’s Shiite opposition group, Al Wefaq. He arrived in the country on Sunday and was scheduled to stay for three days, but his visit was cut short by the abrupt order to depart a day early.
He also had meetings scheduled with government officials, as well as leading human rights activist Nabeel Rajab who was released from prison late May after serving two years for taking part in illegal protests. Rajab told The Associated Press he did not meet Malinowski.
Two US officials in Washington confirmed that Malinowski has been ordered to leave but is still there while the logistics of his departure are worked out. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly about the matter.
A U.S. ally in the Middle East, Bahrain provides a base for U.S. Navy’s fifth fleet.
“The Kingdom of Bahrain emphasises its close and robust relations with the United States and stresses the need that they are not affected by such negative issues that may mar their integrity and development in various fields,” the ministry said.
– with inputs from Bahrain News Agency, AP, GulfNews, CCTV