US and Bahrain Defense Officials Discuss Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

The US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin and Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa on Thursday discussed a range of issues around the globe, especially Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Iran’s issue.

Austin hosted Al Khalifa in the Pentagon and said that the American-Bahraini relationship is “longstanding” and “deep,” and the US appreciates and welcomes these contacts.”

“Of course, Russia’s unprovoked and unjust invasion of Ukraine is on everyone’s mind,” Austin was quoted by his office in a statement.

Austin furthered that the US would be standing squarely with the people of Ukraine, and “will continue to provide them with security assistance to defend themselves.”

Austin told Al Khalifa that the US is also working with NATO allies to ensure the defense of NATO’s eastern flank and to bolster the capabilities of allies.

Austin also expressed interest in ways to further strengthen the defense relationship with Bahrain. Austin also talked about Iran and reiterated that the US will not let Iran develop and field a nuclear weapon.

“Bahrain has also demonstrated its role as a regional leader, by taking the courageous step of establishing a lasting partnership with Israel,” Austin said.

Austin assured to continue working with Bahrain, Israel and the regional partners to strengthen air defenses, counter unmanned aerial systems and bolster maritime security.

In his part, Al Khalifa 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,” Al Khalifa quoted in a statement issued by US Department of Defense.

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