Monday, May 27, 2013

Thousands to sign protest letter against US envoy - Local News

THOUSANDS of people in Bahrain will be signing a letter to US President Barack Obama protesting at the alleged political interference of US Ambassador Thomas C Krajeski.
Sources described the move as a last ditch appeal to one of the world's most powerful leaders to have the envoy recalled immediately.
Mr Krajeski caused anger when he was spotted at the National Dialogue venue on the same day that a session was taking place.
He was seen leaving just moments before talks were due to start, but a US Embassy spokesman claimed he was there for a private meeting and did not meet dialogue participants.
It followed claims that opposition groups taking part in the dialogue were being fed advice and support by the US.
"There have been a number of incidents in which Ambassador Krajeski's conduct has been seen as prejudicial and unfair - certainly not the behaviour expected of diplomatic representatives," says the letter.
It refers to the fact that his assignment to Bahrain was met with a no-confidence vote by MPs in October 2011, based on allegations of suspicious meeting with opposition groups in the US and his work as a diplomat in Iraq.
"But in the interests of sound relations, the government chose not to take the matter further," says the letter.
"There have been monthly visits by high level US delegations, declaring public as well as private announcements of cautious approval for steps being taken by Bahrain to further improve its democratic process and foster national unity."
However, the signatories of the letter criticised a 2012 US State Department report about the human rights situation in Bahrain.
"Despite laudatory public comments, the State Department released a damning report on human rights in Bahrain, not only deemed highly offensive but in many aspects blatantly wrong," says the letter.
It states that given the fact the bulk of the information carried in the report would have been supplied by the US Embassy in Manama or vetted by Mr Krajeski, "there is now growing anger in our community the developments here are being misrepresented to the detriment of our bilateral relations."
The letter argues the ambassador's conduct has resulted in a "loss of confidence" of Bahrain citizens and was perceived as "interference in internal affairs of the country" that goes beyond the legitimate duties of diplomats, as established by international conventions.
"Under these circumstances, the ambassador has lost the confidence of Bahrain's people and has become a figure of division and mistrust to the detriment of relations," it says.
"Therefore, in the interests of continuing the warm bilateral ties which fortunately exist between our two countries, we ask for the recall of Ambassador Thomas Krajeski with immediate effect."
The letter informs President Obama that Bahrain has reached a critical stage in its history following the 2011 unrest and setting up of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) to critically assess the events during that period.
It states that recommendations of the independent inquiry have been implemented or are in the process of being implemented.
"The various diverse groupings in our society are now engaged in an internationally respected and supported National Dialogue to find peaceful solutions to issues which have confronted our country over the past two years," says the letter.
US Embassy officials said they were unaware of the letter and declined to comment.

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