HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa
Manama Dialogue 2012 opens in Bahrain
, December 7, 2012
A senior US congressional delegation, foreign ministers from the GCC and Jordan, and delegations from the UK, Germany and Italy will take part in the Manama Dialogue 2012, a major security summit that opens today in Bahrain.
Remarks by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and US Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns are also expected to draw considerable interest at the eighth International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Regional Security Summit: The Manama Dialogue 2012 at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, Hotel and Spa.
The three-day conference is being held under the patronage of HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander, said a report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
It will discuss global security, political and economic issues, promote global dialogue, back efforts to explore solutions to defuse tensions and crises, and bolster regional and international co-operation to confront future challenges.
Among those attending include ranking member of the US Senate Armed Services Committee John McCain, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Mike Rogers and ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Dutch Ruppersberger.
Ministers attending from the region include Kuwait Foreign Minister Shaikh Sabah Khalid Al Sabah, UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Adbullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.
In addition, several chiefs of defence staff and deputy chiefs will participate from North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
"This year, there is a special opportunity for leaders to engage on the crisis in Syria, the strategic impact of political developments in the region, communal and sectarian issues, maritime security, and the roles of powers from different parts of the world in the region," said IISS chief executive and director-general Dr John Chipman.
He said the Manama Dialogue 2012 offered an "international and independent platform for the conduct of defence and foreign affairs diplomacy centred on the Gulf and the wider Middle East".
"No other meeting in the Middle East brings together such a wide range of government ministers and officials from the region, the Americas, Europe and Asia.
"None has such a diverse group of government leaders addressing the hardest issues of the day before an experienced delegate group drawn from the world of politics, diplomacy, strategy and education," said Dr Chipman.
"The IISS hopes and expects that the array of governments represented at the Manama Dialogue will use the occasion to exchange frank views on the challenges of the moment and to strengthen their relations wherever possible," he said.
The high-level meeting is held under tense security and political circumstances and will kick off with a special discussion on the Syrian situation and its impact on regional security, counter-terrorism and security in the Strait of Hormuz.
A debate on the perspectives from the Manama Dialogue will be held today followed by a reception and opening dinner during which there will be a special address on the 'Role of the US in Regional Security'.
The first plenary session will be held tomorrow on 'Regional Security Co-operation' followed by other sessions on 'Regional Conflicts and Outside Power', 'Strategic Reassurance and Deterrence in the Region' and the 'Changing International Framework and Regional Security'.
The forum ends on Sunday and will include simultaneous special sessions on 'Securing Yemen's Future', 'Maritime Security Operations and International Co-operation', 'Iraq and the Region' and 'Military Co-operation in the Region'.
The fifth and the last plenary session will focus on the 'Changing Nature of Regional Security Issues'.
The Manama Dialogue did not take place last year along with several regional events because of the unrest.
In the seventh edition held in December 2010, King Abdullah of Jordan delivered the keynote address while US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a special address.
Issues raised during the 2010 event included the Arab-Israeli conflict and its impact on the security situation in the Gulf and Middle East regions, Turkey's role in the course of security and political events as well as the Iranian nuclear file. – TradeArabia News Service