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A New Era of Partnership

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Bahrain-Russia MoUs herald a collaborative future

In a landmark visit that underscores the deepening ties between Bahrain and Russia, His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa met with President Vladimir Putin at the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow. This high-profile meeting not only symbolised the mutual respect and friendship between the two nations but also paved the way for a series of strategic partnerships across various sectors.

During this historic visit, seven memoranda of understanding (MoUs) were signed, marking a significant step forward in bilateral relations. These agreements span a wide range of fields, from health and transportation to culture and environmental protection, reflecting the multifaceted nature of the collaboration between Bahrain and Russia.

The ministries of health in Bahrain and Russia have committed to strengthening cooperation in the health sector, a timely initiative given the global emphasis on healthcare resilience. Similarly, the National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) and the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade have agreed to enhance cooperation in pharmaceutical manufacturing, a move that promises to bolster the pharmaceutical landscape in both countries.

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Transportation and logistics also received a significant boost with an MOU between the ministries of Transportation and Telecommunications of both countries. This agreement is set to improve transportation efficiency and increase the volume of passengers and goods in bilateral traffic, particularly on the International North-South Transport Corridor.

Cultural exchange is at the heart of the MoUs signed between the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA) and the Russian Culture Ministry. The implementation of the Russian Seasons programme in Bahrain will showcase the rich tapestry of Russian culture and heritage, while a separate agreement for 2024–2027 aims to strengthen cultural relations established back in 2008.

Environmental conservation efforts will be enhanced through the partnership between the Supreme Council for Environment (SCE) of Bahrain and the Russian Roscongress Foundation, along with the Falcon Centre “Kamchatka.” This collaboration focuses on the protection of rare bird species, highlighting the global responsibility for biodiversity.

Lastly, the Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa Academy for Diplomatic Studies (MBMA) at the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Russia have agreed to foster ongoing cooperation in diplomatic training, thereby enhancing the professional skills of diplomats and reinforcing bilateral diplomatic ties.

The signing ceremony was attended by a congregation of dignitaries, with members of the official Bahraini delegation and senior Russian government officials in attendance. The leaders engaged in discussions on several topics of mutual interest, signaling a future of shared goals and collaborative endeavors.

This visit by His Majesty King Hamad to Russia not only signifies a new chapter in Bahrain-Russia relations but also demonstrates the commitment of both nations to work together towards common objectives, fostering peace, prosperity, and progress for their peoples and the world at large.

President Putin emphasised the advancement of bilateral cooperation as the two countries near the 35th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. He acknowledged the longstanding efforts to strengthen cooperation and the shared diplomatic positions on various regional and global issues. Reflecting on the 33rd Arab Summit hosted by Bahrain, Putin expressed optimism about further bolstering trade cooperation, highlighting the promising investment collaboration indicators, including approximately 30 large-scale projects and an investment package valued at $500 million. He also noted the continuous development of cultural cooperation, particularly through the hosting of Bahrain’s cultural events in Russia and vice versa for the upcoming year. Additionally, Putin commended the advanced educational collaboration between the two countries.

His Majesty King Hamad expressed his appreciation to President Putin for the invitation, affirming that the visit serves to enhance cooperation across various domains. He reflected on the outcomes of the 33rd Arab Summit held in Bahrain, noting the summit participants’ commendation of Russia’s support for just Arab causes. King Hamad highlighted the decision made during the Arab Summit to host an international peace conference, with the Russian Federation being the first country approached for support, recognizing Russia’s significant global role. He emphasized Bahrain’s eagerness to host this conference and congratulated President Putin on his victory in the presidential elections. This win, according to King Hamad, demonstrated the people’s trust in Putin’s visionary leadership, and he noted that the region and the Arab world welcomed this win and supported Russia’s stability. King Hamad lauded Russia’s economic, social, and security advancements, despite the challenging conditions faced by both Russia and the region.

King Hamad voiced his concern regarding the situation in the Gaza Strip, expressing hope for an end to the conflict for the sake of the innocent people affected, many of whom have been displaced. He stressed that the main priority is to protect civilians and deliver humanitarian aid, noting that the historical dispute is well-documented and that no prior consultations took place regarding the military operations. He emphasized that Arab leaders showed a complete understanding of the situation during the Arab Summit, and there was consensus on this issue. King Hamad felt honoured to take on the responsibility of addressing Arab issues during the current session of the Arab Summit and looked forward to continued Russian support. He expressed Bahrain’s interest in the support of Arab countries and Russia in upholding the principles of good neighborliness and maintaining diplomatic, trade, and cultural relations with countries in the region. Lastly, His Majesty emphasised that Russia’s support was warmly received by the people of Bahrain and by His Majesty personally.

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