Secretary Michael R. Pompeo and Bahraini Foreign Minister Al Zayani at the U.S.-Bahrain Strategic Dialogue

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SECRETARY POMPEO:  Well, look, good morning from Washington, and good afternoon, Foreign Minister Al Zayani, and to everyone joining from Bahrain.

It’s a pleasure to kick off our first-ever bilateral strategic dialogue.

Look, our two countries have been working together for a long time.  But today is a testament to how President Trump has joined with King Hamad to make our decades-old ties even closer, for the benefit of both of our nations.

It’s been a privilege for me personally to work with His Majesty the King as well, and all the more so because he spent some time studying at the United States Army Command and General Staff College in my home state, the great state of Kansas here in America.

Together, our two teams have achieved historic outcomes for the entire Middle East.  I’m very confident that what we’re doing today, this dialogue and the sessions that will follow, will lay a foundation for more successes, and frankly an even stronger alliance.

I want to start with security – the focus of multiple working sessions.

You’ve helped us defeat ISIS, launching airstrikes against the fraudulent caliphate.

Bahrain also hosts the United States Naval Central Command and our Fifth Fleet’s headquarters.  That allows lots for us.  That allows us to collaborate across the board, from fighting terrorism to safeguarding the passage of goods in the Gulf, free from Iran’s maritime attacks.

Indeed, the regime in Tehran is the number-one threat to Gulf security, and to peace-loving people throughout the entire region.

And I want to thank you all.  I want to thank Bahrain and its people for their steadfast support of our maximum pressure campaign, which has successfully isolated Tehran and cut off tens of billions of dollars for Iranian malign influence and terror.

Bahrain and the United States share a key foreign policy insight:  We’re realists; we see the world as it is.

We recognize the violent nature of the revolutionary Iranian regime, and we understand that when it comes to countering Tehran and many other important issues, Israel is a key partner, and not a problem.

Thanks to the Abraham Accords, partnerships with Israel and the United States are now blossoming.  In fact, just what’s now last month the United States hosted our first Strategic Dialogue with the United Arab Emirates, another signatory.

Look, there’s already more trade and investment between Bahrain and Israel in areas like telecom and financial services in just a handful of weeks.

Indeed, when I was in Israel just a couple weeks back now, I greeted the first direct flight from Bahrain carrying the first cabinet-level delegation, including the foreign minister himself.  We held a trilateral meeting to build on our progress, including by opening the door for an exchange of embassies between Israel and Bahrain.

This is a sign of hope for the region as it moves past stale, outdated thinking to which no one should want to return.

And I am confident more nations will follow Bahrain’s leadership, showing the geographic size of a country does not dictate its influence on the world stage.

Together – together, we’ve proven what works.  There’s more to do; there always is.

Over the next couple weeks, five working groups from the State Department and other agencies will meet with their Bahraini counterparts.

They’ll discuss how we can make sure that our two nations coordinate more in areas like military training and on women’s empowerment.

It’s also important that our future 5G networks are safe from the Chinese Communist Party and malign operators like Huawei.

So, too, is standing up for human rights and combating human trafficking – areas in which Bahrain has made tremendous, real progress.

FOREIGN MINISTER AL ZAYANI:  Thank you, sir.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  I’m happy.  Our bilateral relationship is a powerful force for good – let’s keep together to deliver positive results.

Foreign Minister Al Zayani, thank you and the people of Bahrain for your friendship with the United States of America.  Thank you.

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