Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : UK-Bahrain inaugural Strategic Dialogue 2023 – joint statement [October 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 31 October 2023.

The Minister of State for the Middle East and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain co-chaired the first session of the UK–Bahrain Strategic Dialogue on 31 October 2023.

Lord Tariq Ahmad, Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and United Nations, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and H.E. Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Bahrain, today in London co-chaired the first session of the UK – Bahrain Strategic Dialogue, formerly known as the Bahrain-UK Joint Working Group. This renaming reflects the significant relationship, strategic nature and importance of the Ministerial biannual forum between our two countries.

In their meeting, the two Ministers reviewed key areas of collaboration between the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Bahrain, and noted the shared history and strong people-to-people links which underpin this. Ministers welcomed and reviewed the outcomes of the visit in July 2023 of HRH Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain, which included the signing of a Strategic Investment and Collaboration Partnership to facilitate additional investment of more than £1 billion into the UK, support the diversification of Bahrain’s economy and drive greater cooperation between our countries in clean technology, business services and manufacturing.

Discussions in the Strategic Dialogue covered a range of bilateral and regional issues including human rights, security and defence cooperation, and mutual trade and investment opportunities. A number of foreign policy issues were also discussed.

On the current crisis in Israel and Gaza, Ministers called for the immediate release of all hostages and condemned all violence against civilians. Ministers stressed the importance of all parties complying with International Humanitarian Law, including by taking every feasible precaution to minimise harm to civilians. Ministers also called for a humanitarian pause to facilitate the delivery of critical humanitarian aid to those civilians who need it the most in Gaza, and welcomed the GCC’s announcement of an additional $100m, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s National Humanitarian Campaign’s announcement of over $18m in aid, and the UK’s £30m of additional humanitarian aid. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to a political solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict which provides justice and security for both Israelis and Palestinians, and that they are working urgently with partners to support adherence to International Humanitarian Law and regional stability.

On Russia/Ukraine, Ministers underlined the need to reach a just and sustainable peace, in line with the UN Charter. Ministers reaffirmed the importance of ensuring the protection of Ukraine’s ports and grain infrastructure to ensure that Ukraine can continue to export its agricultural produce. They expressed support for all efforts aimed at facilitating the export of grains and all food and humanitarian items to ensure food security for the wider world.