Manama: Bahrain has confirmed its policy of consolidating relations and cooperation with Russia in various areas.

Receiving the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force General Viktor Bondarev, King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa affirmed Bahrain’s keenness to bolster cooperation with Russia and to exchange expertise in the military field, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported on Monday.

King Hamad who visited Russia for the second time in October and had talks with President Vladimir Putin, “commended the pivotal role of Russia as well as its contribution to the efforts of the international community to promote security and stability and consolidate global peace,” the official news agency said.

The king’s first visit to Russia in December 2008 was described as “a defining moment for bilateral relations and the final communiqué amounted to a real roadmap, stressing the importance of promoting relations.”

At a separate meeting with the senior Russian official on Monday, Prime Minister Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa said that Bahrain was keen on speeding up cooperation with Russia at the bilateral and Gulf levels.

He said Bahrain was looking forward to establishing a Gulf-Russian partnership that reinforces economic and political cooperation. The partnership will be based on common understanding and coordination over various issues, he added.

Prince Khalifa said that Russia had a highly significant political and economic weight and that the consolidation of its regional status will have positive effects on stability in the region and in the world.

The Prime Minister added that development in the region required security and stability, both of which could be reinforced by close Gulf-Russian relations.

Bahrain-Russia relations are currently strong and are steadily becoming more robust, and such a momentum should be reinforced, he said.

In his meeting with the Russian official, Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa emphasised the growing ties between Bahrain and Russia across a range of sectors, “in light of the positive outcomes achieved by recent visits of senior officials to both countries.”

Prince Salman, also Bahrain’s Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister, “highlighted the importance of defence cooperation between the two countries, and discussed the need to maintain security and stability in the region, an area of mutual interest to both countries.”

Crown Prince Salman visited Russia in April, accompanied by an important business delegation.

Gulf Air, Bahrain’s state airline, opened a direct route with Moscow in October.

Official ties between Manama and Moscow started in September 1990 when Bahrain and former Soviet Union established diplomatic relations based on mutual respect, sovereignty and territorial integrity for both countries and in line with the UN constituent covenant and the international law.

In December 1991, Bahrain recognised the Russian Federation as the successor state of the Soviet Union and the ambassador of Bahrain in Moscow presented his credentials in February 1992.