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Bahrain calls for GCC efforts to combat threats

Recently discovered terror plots have proven links to Iran, interior minister says

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Caption: Shaikh Rashid addressing the meeting - Credit: BNA
Gulf News

Manama: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states need to boost their coordination efforts to confront the increase in the threats to the region, Bahrain’s interior minister has said.

“The law should be the top option in addressing security-related issues and stances,” Shaikh Rashid Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa said. “However, there is no question in any case that we will ever compromise the security of our nation. Anyone plotting to undermine our sovereignty and security should not expect us to consent and bow. The aggression that we have lived through and the security incidents that the region has witnessed have made us better aware of the threats to our security and stability. This stimulates us to move forward towards more cooperation and unity through words and deeds,” Shaikh Rashid said as he chaired the 14th consultative meeting of GCC interior ministers in Manama on Tuesday.

Numerous security-related incidents have occurred in the region since the 13th meeting held in Riyadh, the minister said.

“In Bahrain, the security authorities have discovered a terrorist cell that aimed to set up a military network to perpetrate acts of terror in vital locations. The suspects’ confessions as well as the details about their movements, calls, money transfers and technology in making explosives proved their links with Iran and Tehran’s attempts to interfere in the homeland security of Bahrain. All this in addition to the continuation of violence, vandalism and criminal acts by terrorists against policemen and civilians,” he said.

Referring to the developments in the UAE, Shaikh Rashid said that the security authorities discovered a network of the Muslim Brotherhood and arrested a terrorist cell of Arab nationals with links to Al Qaida on April 18.

“In Saudi Arabia, the authorities busted an espionage cell with Iranian intelligence links and that included several academics. The competent security agencies are still investigating the members of the cell. In Oman, some protests and demonstrations occurred, but were dealt with according to the law. In Kuwait, the security authorities were able to deal with protests and acts of violence and bring the situation under control in a way that guarantees freedom of expression within the confines of the law,” he said.

“From the brief on the security events that unfolded in the GCC countries, it is clear that anyone who has a specific agenda is exploiting the state of chaos that provides room for illegal movements both inside the council and abroad. However, the danger that targets the Arab regimes in the GCC remains of paramount concern to us all and this requires from us a common stance, an agreement on determining the common threats, increasing coordination and defining priorities whenever new threats emerge,” he said.