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U.S., Bahrain Defense Leaders Discuss Global, Regional Concerns

March 2, 2022 | BY Jim Garamone , DOD News

U.S. and Bahrain's defense officials discussed a range of issues from global problems like Russia's invasion of Ukraine, to regional problems in Iran during a meeting at the Pentagon today. 

The secretary of defense speaks during a meeting.
Secretary of Defense
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III speaks to Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa during a meeting at the Pentagon, March 2, 2022.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders , DOD
VIRIN: 220302-D-XI929-1002M

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III hosted Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa for these wide-ranging discussions.  

Austin noted that the American-Bahraini relationship is longstanding and deep, and the United States appreciates and welcomes these contacts. 

"Of course, Russia's unprovoked and unjust invasion of Ukraine is on everyone's mind," the secretary said at the start of the meeting. "We're standing squarely with the people of Ukraine, and we continue to provide them with security assistance to defend themselves." 

Austin told the crown prince that the United States is also working with NATO allies to ensure the defense of NATO's eastern flank and to bolster the capabilities of allies. "We take our collective defense requirements very, very seriously," he said. "And I'm looking forward to your views on Russia's war of choice, and the security situation in Europe." 

Austin said he is also interested in ways to strengthen the two country's defense relationship. Bahrain hosts the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet and an international maritime security force.  

"We know that we can depend on Bahrain as a major NATO ally," the secretary said. "And you showed that yet again, with invaluable support for last year's historic Afghan evacuation." 

Austin also mentioned Iran and its support for terrorists which must be dealt with. He reiterated that America will not let Iran develop and field a nuclear weapon. 

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III greets Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa in front of a building as a band performs.
Leader Meeting
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III hosts Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa for a meeting at the Pentagon, March 2, 2022.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders, DOD
VIRIN: 220302-D-XI929-1005M

"Bahrain has also demonstrated its role as a regional leader, by taking the courageous step of establishing a lasting partnership with Israel," Austin said. "That is a momentous decision that will make the region more secure.”

"So, we're going to work together with Bahrain, Israel and our regional partners to strengthen air defenses, counter unmanned aerial systems and bolster maritime security," he said.  

The crown prince told Austin that he and his country are always open to new ideas and new processes. "I think in times of crisis, it is always important for good friends to meet and share ideas to explore, maybe ideas that … their time has come," he said. "There is no doubt in my mind, that the international world order that was established after World War II and guaranteed the peace for so many decades, is at its most fragile. And I think thinking about our shared collective security in a new way is something that we should do."