NEW YORK CITY: Bahrain has grown immensely in diplomatic cooperation, human rights, tolerance, and social progress, Bahraini Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullatif Al-Zayani said on Friday.
The minister referenced the signing of the Comprehensive Security Integration and Prosperity Agreement between the US and Bahrain, signed last week, which will enhance coordination between the two countries in defense, security, technology and investment.
Al-Zayani stressed the importance of dialogue and good-neighborliness in the approach to settling international disputes, a peace process supporting an independent Palestinian state, and the solution of conflicts in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Sudan “in a way that preserves the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of these countries.”
Al-Zayani also called for the implementation of international conventions “to criminalize religious, sectarian and racial hate speech. We must prevent the misuse of ‘freedoms’ in media and digital platforms for religious contempt or to incite extremism, terrorism and intolerance.”
Cooperation in security, nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, cybercrime and international navigation was critical, he added.
On economic cooperation, the minister welcomed the announcement of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic corridor, which was unveiled during the G20 summit in New Delhi this year. The corridor is to connect India with Europe via the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and Greece.
Al-Zayani also praised Saudi Arabia for announcing earlier this month the establishment of a global water organization to be based in Riyadh.
The minister discussed many of his country’s recent strides in ensuring human rights, including the creation of an impartial, independent judiciary supported by international human rights experts, promotion of the freedom of press and media, encouragement of trade unions, and criminal justice and corrections reform.
“The Kingdom of Bahrain is proud of the advancement of women, and her contribution as active partner in the process of comprehensive development. She is a minister, a parliamentarian, a judge and ambassador,” he said, adding that Bahraini women made up 22 percent of the cabinet, 56 percent of the workforce in the government sector, and 34 percent of the diplomatic corps.