Maritime Summit Planned in Bahrain to Counter Iran Regime's Threats
General view of Bahrain`s financial district in Manama, Bahrain, June 20, 2019. (Reuters)
Bahrain is preparing to host an international summit this fall on regional maritime and aviation threats posed by Iran's regime.
U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, and Bahraini Foreign Minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al Khalifa, announced the summit in Washington on July 17. The gathering will likely be held in late October and attended by the representatives of 65 countries, they said.
The conference will be the follow-up of a significant U.S.-led Middle East conference that was attended by dozens of nations in Warsaw, Poland, last February, agencies reported.
Speaking at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council, Sheikh Khalid said, "The Warsaw global conference created momentum. It also showed clarity in our views regarding many matters in the region, especially when we came to talk about the threat from [Iran] … and we didn't want to lose the momentum."
The same 65 countries that took part in the conference in Warsaw, including the Middle East countries, and European representatives, will be asked to attend the gathering in Bahrain, Hook told The National.
However, he noted that the invitations had not been sent out yet.
"The conference will aim to reach a common understanding on addressing the challenge posed by Iran," Sheikh Khalid said at the Atlantic Council in Washington.
Hook, for his part, highlighted the growing maritime threat in the Persian Gulf. At least seven tankers have been attacked in the Persian Gulf since May, primarily by the Iranian regime's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
Meanwhile, Sheikh Khalid maintained U.S. intelligence shared with Bahrain helped to prevent Iranian-sponsored attacks in the kingdom of Bahrain.
The IRGC "has plotted to overthrow the government of Bahrain since 1981", he said.
"You see them in Syria, in Iraq, in Yemen, in eastern Saudi Arabia, and in Kuwait, a Hezbollah cell was arrested," Sheikh Khalid asserted, adding, "The U.S. has always been with us to stop malign Iranian activities, but these efforts intensified under the current administration."
The U.S. State Department added the IRGC to its list of foreign terrorist organizations in April 2019.
Brian Hook will meet ambassadors on Friday to promote the U.S. plan to build a maritime coalition to deter further attacks on the oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.
Based in part on wire reports