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Bahrain on agenda of UK debate

BRITISH MPs will sit for the second time tomorrow to hear experts give evidence before a parliamentary inquiry into the UK's relations with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Former Under-Secretary of State for the Middle East and Africa and British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sir Alan Munro, City University London Middle East Policy Studies Professor Rosemary Hollis and Council for the Advancement of Arab British Understanding director Chris Doyle will appear as experts.

They will discuss their views on UK's relationship with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, as well as the British government's response to opposition protests in Bahrain.

The first evidence session was held last week as part of an inquiry by the UK parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee and witnesses who spoke included former British ambassadors to Bahrain Sir Roger Tomkys and Robin Lamb.

That session focused on the historical and regional context of UK-Gulf relations, while future evidence sessions are expected to focus on other aspects of the inquiry such as trade, defence and human rights.

Tomorrow's session is scheduled to start at 5.15pm Bahrain time.

Several prominent British figures who have lived and worked in the Gulf have submitted extensive written testimonials as evidence to the House of Commons inquiry.

They include former ambassadors, retired military figures, businessmen, existing and former residents and human rights activists.

Contributors

Other key contributors include the Bahrain Federation of Expatriate Associations and Citizens for Bahrain, a group of anonymous activists who oppose the protest movement, and Shura Council foreign affairs, defence and national security committee chairman Dr Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa.

Best-selling British writer and historian Robert Lacey along with former British Defence Attache in Riyadh Brigadier Peter Sincock, who was accredited to Bahrain between 1988 and 1991, retired British army officer Sir Graeme Lamb and former RAF officer Philip Smith have also given evidence.

sandy@gdn.com.bh



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