Bahraini Monarch Urges Saddam Hussein to Comply With U.N.
By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2003 The king of Bahrain stood in front of the Pentagon today and told reporters Saddam Hussein should disarm.
"We are committed to secure all means to defend our countries in order to preserve peace and stability before anything else," King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa said outside the American military headquarters after meeting briefly with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "For the sake of peace, we urge Iraq to comply with the international inspectors so that the people of the region can avoid another war."
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (right) introduces King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain at a short press briefing outside the Pentagon following their meeting Feb. 4, 2003. Photo by Kathleen T. Rhem.
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Bahrain is a longtime U.S. ally in the Persian Gulf. The tiny island nation, roughly 20 miles east of Saudi Arabia, is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.
King Hamad met with President Bush Feb. 3.
"His majesty is here and met with the president yesterday to indicate his support for the president and for the global war on terrorism," Rumsfeld said in introducing the king to the Pentagon press corps. "Those of us here in the United States are deeply appreciative of all his support and the assistance that he has provided."
The king said defense cooperation between the United States and Bahrain is "a key element in the defense system of the Arabian Gulf region." He noted the region is vital in supplying oil "which underpins the global economy" and ensures continuity of trade.
He stopped short of expressly endorsing a possible U.S.-led invasion of Iraq should Hussein fail to comply with U.N. requirements. He said that decision was up to the international community to make, but he did appear to voice support for international efforts to disarm Iraq.
"Bahrain is keen, as a peaceful country, to use all means to defend its people in a region that has suffered consecutive wars," King Hamad said.