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Russia denies move to put Bahrain in UN focus

Moscow dispels concerns over media report, describing it as groundless

Image Credit: AP
Police move in after anti-government protesters hurled petrol bombs and set up barricades in Bilad Al Qadeem in Bahrain.
Gulf News

Manama: Russia’s ambassador to Bahrain has denied a report that his country had suggested putting Bahrain’s political situation on the agenda of the Security Council.

“The report is groundless and lacks credibility,” Victor Smirnov told Bahraini officials as well as MPs Ahmad Al Saati, the head of the Bahrain Parliamentary Bloc, and Sawsan Al Taqawi, the head of the Foreign, Defence and National Security Commission, in separate meetings.

The media report surfaced over the weekend and the suggestion to discuss the situation in Bahrain was attributed to the Russian permanent representative at the United Nations.

According to the report that cited ‘diplomatic sources’ it did not name, the US, France and the UK were shocked by the Russian suggestion to debate developments in Bahrain. It did not mention the reaction of China, the fifth member of the Security Council, to the alleged suggestion.

However, Smirnov told the two Bahraini lawmakers that Moscow did not issue any new formal statement on Bahrain, saying that Russia’s positions are “clear” and “posted on the foreign ministry website”.

Official statements on Russia’s policy are made by the president, the foreign minister or his deputy only and other statements, even if they are issued by officials, do not reflect Russia’s position, the diplomat was quoted as telling the Bahraini MPs.

Al Saati and Al Taqawi said that they held the meeting with the Russian envoy after they read the report about Russia’s alleged Security Council move.

“We were well aware of the Russian position towards the situation in Bahrain, so we wanted to find about the veracity of the report about the alleged change,” they said.

According to Al Saati, the Russian ambassador reiterated that, for Russia, the situation in Bahrain was purely domestic and that Bahrainis are the only ones who could tackle it and reach solutions.

Smirnov added that King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa and his government have taken “good measures” to achieve reforms and insisted that all local political parties should engage in a dialogue to reach an agreement, Al Saati said.