Manama: April 13 — (BNA): The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for International Relations, Ambassador Karim Ebrahim Al-Shakar, reiterated the Bahraini political leadership keenness on Bahrain-Asian cooperation ties and opting eastwards. He emphasized that Bahrain is an old Asian country which has always maintained its solid and deep-rooted historic relations with Asian countries
Manama: April 13 — (BNA): The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for International Relations, Ambassador Karim Ebrahim Al-Shakar, reiterated the Bahraini political leadership keenness on Bahrain-Asian cooperation ties and opting eastwards. He emphasized that Bahrain is an old Asian country which has always maintained its solid and deep-rooted historic relations with Asian countries on the basis of mutual respect and interests.
The Undersecretary said that Bahrain’s interest in its relations with Asian countries is not new and does not come from a vacuum. It only consolidates its ancient historical bonds and present geographic location as well as mutual interests. He stressed Bahrain’s awareness of the considerable importance of its Asian relations which are teeming with goodness in anticipation of attaining self-sufficiency with the Asian bloc of nations. Also, he stressed importance of harnessing technology in the service of development and supporting budding youths whilst preserving security and stability as key factors of sustainable development.
He told Bahrain News Agency (BNA) that the relations between Bahrain and Asian nations date back to Delmon civilization as a collection of Delmon-era archaeological pieces can be found in India and Chinese archeological pieces in the Bahrain Museum. He said that since its independence, the Kingdom of Bahrain has been keen on consolidating its ties with Asian nations such as India and Pakistan both of which were recently officially visited by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, China which His Majesty also visited in September 2013 and Thailand which His Majesty the King visited two years ago. In addition to His Majesty’s official state visits to these countries, His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa the Prime Minister officially visited the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore. Also, His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister visited India, Pakistan and Singapore.
The political leadership headed westwards at first after independence, but, there was a remarkable shift of attention eastwards since the early nineteen-eighties because Bahrain’s roots are Asian, Al-Shakar opined. He pointed out that Bahrain’s relations with Asian countries have always been developing and growing and that the Kingdom aspires for more cooperation and interaction with them in line with the Kingdom’s political disposition. He said that Bahrain’s economic ties with Asian countries are very strong as most of its aluminum, oil and petrochemical exports go to Asia. Also, Bahrain largely relies upon Asian manpower. He concluded that the Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) initiative which was established in 2002 when His Royal Highness the prime Minister visited Thailand and agreed with his Thai counterpart to establish the ACD Organization, this emanated from economic ties. He also said that the Association of East Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established upon an initiative from Bahrain and Singapore in the form of a political, economic partnership between East Asian countries.
Al-Shakar said that Bahrain’s relations with Asian countries also extend to these countries and Bahrain joining under the banner of several international organizations for example the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM), the Asian Cooperation Organization (ACO), the United Nations Organization (UN), the Asian-Middle Eastern Cooperation Dialogue which was also established upon a Bahraini-Singaporean initiative. He added that such cooperation includes all fields of economics, press, political affairs and reiterated that Bahrain does not only care for its bilateral relations but also its Asian relations as a whole because Asia is considered the cradle of human civilization.
Al-Shakar concluded that one of the most important outcomes of the Asian Cooperation Dialogues was its unanimous adoption of Bahrain as the Capital of Asian Tourism for the year 2014 which reflects the importance of Bahrain’s strategic location and the efforts of Foreign Affairs Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa and the efforts of the Minister of Culture Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa in convincing Asian nations about the importance of this initiative which makes each and every Asian capital the Capital of Asian Tourism year after year.
Al-Shakar emphasized that Bahrain aspires to the designation of Manama as the Capital of Asian Culture