We have had extensive talks covering every aspect of our bilateral relations as well as the regional agenda. Discussing our bilateral ties, the Minister and I reaffirmed our shared belief that their rapid growth meets both countries’ long-term interests.
We noted with satisfaction the regular exchange of delegations at the political level. In December 2021, Speaker of the Federation Council of Russia’s Federal Assembly Valentina Matvienko visited Bahrain where she met with the country’s leaders.
We considered ways to build up business cooperation, increase our mutual trade and diversify it. We both praised the performance of the Russian-Bahraini Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation, and expressed hope for the further expansion of its work. Its third meeting is planned for Manama this year.
We agreed to continue effective cooperation in various areas through the Russian Direct Investment Fund and Bahrain’s Mumtalakat sovereign wealth fund. They have a shared platform. We are certain they have good prospects to develop it further.
We welcome the expanding research, educational and cultural cooperation between the two countries. Russian universities have several dozen Bahraini specialists, mainly in medical programmes. We agreed to encourage this practice. For our part, we are ready to increase the number of scholarships. We are interested in fulfilling the plans we have with regard to cultural projects in Bahrain, including the Days of Russian Culture in Manama this year.
We also focused on the potential for expanding our bilateral legal framework. We agreed to work towards an expeditious signing of bilateral agreements concerning industry, healthcare and transport.
We agreed to continue closely coordinating our approaches in international affairs. Russia and Bahrain have established a constructive dialogue between their foreign ministries; we appreciate its results.
We had a constructive exchange of views on the most recent developments in the Middle East and North Africa. With regard to Syria, we are of the same opinion about the need to fully implement UN Security Council Resolution 2254. We also noted the need for the speedy normalisation of relations between Damascus and the League of Arab States. We hope that the Constitutional Committee in Geneva, which has recently resumed work, will achieve tangible results toward a political settlement between the Syrian government and all opposition groups.
The priority agenda for Syria currently incudes urgent supplies of humanitarian aid to the country’s population, assistance with “rapid recovery” projects, including water and electricity supply, educational services, and healthcare. All this should contribute to the creation of favourable conditions for the return of refugees and IDPs.
We are unanimous about the need to consolidate international efforts to resume direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations to resolve all the key final status issues and achieve a comprehensive settlement. We place particular emphasis on the expeditious restoration of Palestinian unity as one of the main factors facilitating progress on the Palestinian-Israeli settlement track.
Our friends listened with interest to our additional comments on Russia’s Collective Security Concept for the Gulf Area. We have updated our old initiative. It had been in the pipes for a couple of decades, until we updated it last year and held a special meeting including representatives of expert, research, and political science communities from all the Gulf countries.
We talked about a political settlement in Yemen. We welcomed Saudi Arabia’s initiative to hold special consultations. We call on all sides in Yemen to actively participate in this work.
We expressed hope that a final decision would be reached to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action concerning the Iranian nuclear programme (JCPOA). This will be a significant contribution to the normalisation of the situation in the region.
For obvious reasons, we specifically discussed at length the situation in and around Ukraine. I expressed my gratitude to our Bahraini friends for taking a balanced and consistent pan-Arab approach. We offered them a detailed account of the progress of the special military operation aimed at protecting the residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics from the military threat posed by Ukrainian nationalists, at demilitarising and de-Nazifying Ukraine, and upholding the rights of all people living in that country, including its Russian-speaking citizens.
We shared our assessments of the progress at the Russian-Ukrainian talks, pointing to some important recent developments: the Ukrainian side, its negotiators, have been deviating from some of their own proposals (which evoked a generally positive response from our side) and carrying out new provocations, such as the Bucha events and the absolutely outrageous atrocities. There is video footage that shows how brutally the Nazis from Azov and other battalions treated Russian prisoners of war.
We noted that the King of Bahrain has proposed initiatives to make additional efforts to advance a peaceful settlement. Those initiatives are in the context of understanding the common goal to ensure reliable indivisible security on the European continent. Not all parties we have been negotiating with have shown an understanding or willingness to share this understanding in the current situation. This is not only about Ukraine, but generally about the foundation on which we must build European security in accordance with previous agreements. Security must be equal, indivisible, and no one is entitled to strengthen their security at the expense of others.
This is the approach we are going to take in our further work, along with resolving the specific crisis in Ukraine in line with Russia’s initiatives, which should underlie the negotiations. But we must not lose sight of the global picture, which in many ways holds the answers about the causes of the current abnormal situation in Europe.
I am sincerely grateful to my colleague, Foreign Minister of Bahrain Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani for the close coordination of our actions and for the trust that makes this kind of exchange of views possible.