Bahrain beefs up security for global summit
Manama, November 28, 2010
A massive security operation is being rolled out across Bahrain ahead of a prestigious security conference being attended by leaders from around the globe.
Prime ministers, foreign ministers, defence ministers, national security advisers and military and intelligence chiefs from more than 25 countries are attending the Manama Dialogue, which starts on Friday.
They will come together to discuss major challenges facing the region, including the future of Yemen, Iraq, military co-operation and the role of foreign powers in regional conflicts.
The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) is organising the event for the seventh time, but is keeping the list of participants firmly under wraps.
However, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be among those taking part in the summit at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa.
A delegation from the UK is understood to include British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Defence Secretary Liam Fox.
IISS Middle East managing director Mark Allworthy told the GDN his organisation would be in daily contact with Bahrain's security services in the build-up to the event.
'This is really the biggest event of the year for Bahrain in terms of security,' he said.
'The government delegations will be based across six hotels that we have fully booked. Alongside that, we are in daily communication with the Interior Ministry, the Bahrain Defence Force and The Royal Court with regard to the correct protocol arrangements for the delegates.'
More than 600 delegates, representing political and business interests from around the world, are expected to attend the three-day conference, which runs until next Sunday.
The event will focus on some of the major issues facing the Middle East, including Iraq, US influence on regional security, regional co-operation and the security of Yemen.
It will kick off with a series of bilateral meetings between ministers and officials on Friday, followed that evening by a debate, a keynote address on the role of the US in regional security and an opening dinner.
The following day features four plenary sessions tackling regional security co-operation; regional conflicts and outside powers; strategic reassurance and deterrence in the region; and the changing international framework and regional security.
The final day consists of sessions on securing Yemen's future; maritime security operations and international co-operation; Iraq and the region; and military co-operation in the region.
Designed to provide a forum to share views on regional security challenges, last year's event was attended by the likes of US Army Central Command commander General David Petraeus and foreign ministers from France, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.
The Manama Dialogue will take place on the same weekend that negotiations between world powers and Iran over Tehran's controversial nuclear programme are expected to resume.
Talks fell apart last year with Iran's rejection of a proposed nuclear-fuel swap, but are due to kick off again on Sunday.
The IISS has launched a new Manama Voices blog ahead of the conference, which can be accessed at iiss.org/manama-voices and will publish news and insight from the event. – TradeArabia News Service