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Bahrain Opposition thanks Faleomavaega for his support

Washington, D.C. —Congressman Faleomavaega, who serves as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific and the third most senior Democratic Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, announced  that on April 5, 2012 Amal Al Yusuf of the International Affairs Department of the Al Wefaq Society in Bahrain thanked him for his support during his recent visit to Bahrain on April 2-3, 2012. 

“During my visit to Bahrain, I raised the case of Jaffar Salman with the Minister of Human Rights, Dr. Fatima Bint Mohammed Al Balooshi, and I also called upon the Government to implement the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry,” Faleomavaega said.  “While I understand that there are those who tend to jump to conclusions when Members of Congress visit highly-charged areas of the world, it is important that Congress stays actively involved in issues that affect our national security.”

“For some 60 years, Bahrain has been a key supporter of U.S. interests.  Bahrain has been home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.  The 5th Fleet controls U.S. naval forces operating in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean.  One of its primary missions it to protect the flow of oil, especially in the strait of Hormuz, through which more than 20% of the world’s petroleum shipments travel.”

“The importance of the 5th Fleet cannot be overstated, and this was made plain during our briefing by the Commander.  The importance of Bahrain also cannot be overstated.  Bahrain is a crucial, American ally.  In fact, the United States has designated Bahrain as a major non-NATO ally putting Bahrain on par with other nations like Australia, Israel, Japan and South Korea.”

“However, after the government crackdown on government protestors, the situation in Bahrain is alarming.  I agree with Secretary Clinton who has emphatically stated that “it is essential for Bahrainis themselves to resolve the issues identified in [the Report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry] and move forward in a way that promotes reform, reconciliation and stability.”

“The U.S. stands prepared to help the people of Bahrain -- Sunni, Shiite and guest worker alike – and it is my sincere hope, as it has been from the beginning, that Bahrainis will come together and work out their differences in a way that is fair and of benefit to all,” Faleomavaega concluded.

The full text of Amal Al Yusuf's thanks reads as follows:

Dear Congressman Eni F. H. Faleomavaega,

It was our pleasure to meet you in Bahrain. Thank you for insisting to meet us and listen to the other point of view about the situation in Bahrain.

We would like to remain in contact with you and to add you to our daily newsletter distribution list (Bahrain Updates) Please feel free to contact us regarding any information or detail.

And I would like to especially thank you for mentioning the case of Jaffar Salman, whose story is mentioned below. I received a call from his friend saying that he was finally taken to the hospital yesterday, and I guess that was directly after you have met with the king, so thank you so much and we really appreciate it and would like you to please continue inquiring about him, not only about his health condition but also about his case which is related to freedom of expression and assembly, like many others that are poor and got less attention from the media and the international community.

Taking him to hospital directly after your inquiry proves that you can make a difference and you can have a positive role to play to improve the human right situation in Bahrain. We hope that you play a proactive role as well in encouraging the government to engage in a credible and meaningful dialogue with the opposition and to respect the universal human rights.

Thanks again and we hope to see you again in Bahrain in the near future.

(Source: Office of Congressman Eni F.H. Faleomavaega)