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Joint Statement of the United States-Bahrain Strategic Dialogue
December 30, 2020

The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and the Kingdom of Bahrain.

His Excellency Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani and Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo launched the U.S. – Bahrain Strategic Dialogue this month.  The Strategic Dialogue demonstrates the joint commitment of both countries to bolster their collective efforts to broaden and elevate their bilateral partnership.

The Strategic Dialogue, held virtually over a two-week period, focused on cross-cutting priority areas of cooperation to enhance prosperity through trade and investment, strengthen mutual security, and build understanding through people-to-people exchanges in education, culture, science, and environment.  The participants discussed U.S. support for the Kingdom of Bahrain, a Major Non-NATO Ally of the United States, in its efforts to enhance its military and security capabilities and the longstanding U.S.-Bahrain security relationship.  The United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain reiterated their joint commitment to deter and confront external threats to the Kingdom of Bahrain and improve regional stability.

The launch of the Strategic Dialogue reflects the determination of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States to work closely together to maximize opportunities to accelerate their mutual peace and security objectives. These include achieving shared human rights goals such as the advancement of women, combatting human trafficking, protecting and promoting international labor and human rights standards, and reinforcing their bilateral exchange of best practices.  The United States recognized the progress the Kingdom of Bahrain has made toward its labor reforms and efforts to combat human trafficking and commended its Tier 1 status in the U.S. Department of State’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report for the third year in a row.

The Strategic Dialogue discussed advancing cooperation in law enforcement and maritime and border security to tackle old and new security challenges.  To provide for maximum security and stability for both nations, confronting terrorism and transnational crimes and other states’ malign activity, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States announced their intention to enter into security partnerships to improve information-sharing, exchange expertise, and build capacity, including through concluding Memoranda of Cooperation regarding border and cargo security.  To confront emerging digital threats, both sides expressed their commitment to greater coordination and cooperation toward bolstering cyber resilience, combatting cybercrime, and strengthening critical infrastructure protection measures.  In this regard, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States expressed their intention to establish information-sharing mechanisms to enhance operational collaboration.

The Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States announced their intention to strengthen judicial and law enforcement cooperation to combat transnational crime and terrorism by sharing evidence and information used to investigate and prosecute these crimes.  These bilateral efforts will demonstrate the strength of existing law enforcement-to-law enforcement cooperation and build on efforts to counter transnational crimes and terrorism of all forms.  Both countries affirmed their intention to take further steps to cut off terrorism financing. In this regard, the United States expressed its appreciation for the continued commitment of the Kingdom of Bahrain to strengthen its anti-money laundering practices, increase information-sharing with the U.S., and support joint action against terrorist financiers.

The Strategic Dialogue addressed the importance of achieving mutual prosperity through increased trade and investment across sectors, noting the importance of the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement, which entered into force in 2006.  The participants discussed the expansion of the friendly people-to-people ties between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States across educational, cultural exchange, scientific, and environmental collaboration.  The two governments welcomed the decision of the U.S. Department of State and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain to extend the validity of tourist visas issued to citizens of both countries to ten years, which will further strengthen bilateral ties and boost tourism and travel.

In light of the signing by the Kingdom of Bahrain of the historic Abraham Accords, as well as the strong and enduring bilateral ties that characterize the decades-long friendship between the United States and Kingdom of Bahrain, the launch of the Strategic Dialogue reaffirms the two governments’ shared resolve to sustain their cooperation, advance the cause of peace, and deepen their bilateral partnership.

The United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain look forward to future sessions of the Strategic Dialogue, which will continue to reflect and reaffirm the longstanding partnership and friendship between the two nations, and underscored their intention to coordinate on priority areas through the formation of a Strategic Dialogue working group involving representatives of their respective governments.