Today, the US congratulates the people of Bahrain on the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence.
While we welcomed Bahrain’s independence in 1971, our relationship is much longer and deeper, spanning more than 120 years of friendship.
Today, we celebrate with our Bahraini neighbours and friends, and would like to express our warmest gratitude for the long-standing Bahrain-US strategic partnership.
Bahrain is a steadfast partner for peace and stability and has routinely answered the call to promote peace in the wider world.
The kingdom’s signing of the Abraham Accords with Israel last year (2020) was an important and bold step forward in advancing regional peace efforts.
This past August, Bahrain supported the evacuation of more than 7,000 people from Afghanistan during Operation Allies Refuge, removing them from harm’s way and providing them an opportunity for a better life.
Last month’s Manama Dialogue demonstrated Bahrain’s significant role in regional security. The participation of the US Defence Secretary and other senior US leaders reaffirmed the US’ commitment to our historic and close partnership and to the region.
Since 1948, the US Navy has partnered with Bahrain to address regional maritime threats, which has also played a crucial role in sustaining freedom of navigation in the Arabian Gulf in the 1980s and joined international efforts to liberate Kuwait in the 1990s.
More recently, Bahrain has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the US in combating terrorism and safeguarding the seas.
The largest multinational naval coalition in the world is headquartered in Bahrain, demonstrating the country’s commitment to global partnerships.
Thirty-four countries form the Combined Maritime Forces, which exists to uphold the rules-based international order by deterring destabilising activity on the high seas. The US also values Bahrain’s participation in the coalition to defeat ISIS, its leadership in the International Maritime Security Construct, and its other efforts to promote regional security interests.
We are proud to work with Bahrain in support of mutual prosperity. The US-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement has helped trade growth reach an astounding 300 per cent since its implementation in 2006 and is helping to build lasting economic linkages between our countries.
The US is also proudly working with Bahraini entrepreneurs, whose creativity and ingenuity are supporting economic growth and a robust post-Covid recovery.
Over the years, thousands of American families have spent memorable moments of their lives in Bahrain, thanks to the kingdom’s gracious hospitality.
Bahrain continues to occupy a special place in their – and our – hearts. American children have been born in Bahrain’s hospitals, formed friendships with Bahraini neighbours, and graduated from local schools. We are grateful for the many years of Bahrain’s warm welcome to American families.
People-to-people connections are the basis for warm bilateral relations. Last year, dozens of Bahrainis travelled to the US as part of educational and cultural exchanges, and more than a hundred Bahraini students received visas to study in the US.
Likewise, American academics, students, speakers, and artists have visited Bahrain – in person or virtually – to share experiences and to partner with the government, civil society, and people of Bahrain.
The US is grateful for Bahrain’s continued generosity toward Americans – our citizens, our military and embassy personnel, and their families – and we value our strategic partnership.
We look forward to celebrating many more National Days with our Bahraini friends as we continue our strong and fruitful relationship.