2232 GMT: Bahrain British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt has met this week with opposition political society AlWefaq and the loyalist National Unity Assembly. In a statement, Burt offers little more than the normal UK line, although he specifically notes the recent stripping of citizenship. This is likely to become an increasing issue for the British government as it has not only impacted Bahrainis resident in London but also left two former AlWefaq MP's who were visiting the UK, stranded as stateless
We discussed the current situation in Bahrain one year on from the Independent Commission of Inquiry’s report and our shared concern at the recent bombings. I reiterated the UK’s support for the Declaration of Non-Violence that was launched earlier this month by Al Wefaq and five other political societies. It is an important confidence-building measure and I encourage other leaders in Bahrain to declare publicly their support for this initiative. Violent protests are unacceptable and we condemn them unequivocally.
We also discussed recent actions taken by the authorities, such as the ban on protests and the withdrawal of citizenship from 31 individuals. I made clear that the UK is concerned about such steps which undermine potential reconciliation and that the UK is urging the Government of Bahrain to do more to create the right environment for meaningful political dialogue. I therefore welcome the Government’s acceptance of a needs assessment team from the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights next week to discuss this alongside follow-up to the recent Universal Periodic Review of Bahrain by the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The British Under-Secretary of State for Defence Lord Astor will visit Bahrain next week for talks with leaders.