In a move aimed at bolstering bilateral relations and deepening economic ties, the US and Bahrain have signed a strategic security and economic agreement. This Comprehensive Security Integration and Prosperity Agreement (C-SIPA) marks a new chapter in the longstanding partnership between the two countries, reflecting a shared commitment to regional stability, security, and economic growth.
The agreement was signed on Wednesday (Sep 13) in Washington between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Prime Minister. The agreement, according to Secretary Blinken, would expand defence and intelligence collaboration between the two countries.
“At the heart of the agreement is a shared goal: working together to build a region that is more secure, more prosperous, and that’s more connected to the world economy,” cited reports quoting Secretary Blinken in his response to reporters before the signing ceremony.
“We’re looking forward to using this agreement as a framework for additional countries that may wish to join us in strengthening regional stability, economic cooperation, and technological innovation.”
Prince Salman, who met top officials during his official visit to the US, said that long-standing relations like those with the US are based on shared values of fairness, justice, tolerance, peace, and diversity.
He met US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan at the White House.
They agreed that the agreement will serve as a cornerstone for cooperation among a broader group of countries that share mutual interests and a common vision with regard to deterrence, diplomacy, and escalation. Secretary Austin welcomed the agreement to enhance cooperation on issues ranging from defence and security to emerging technologies and trade.
“This important bilateral agreement will deepen our already strong relationship and underscores America’s commitment not only to Bahrain but to the entire region,” said Secretary Austin.
“It gives us a framework for cooperation in areas from security and trade to technology and information sharing. And together we will demonstrate that integration and inclusion are the paths to security, stability, and prosperity.”
Bahrain, a major non-NATO ally that hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, remains one of the US’ longeststanding partners in the Middle East.Secretary Austin extended his appreciation for Bahrain’s support of US service members and their families stationed abroad and praised the country for its active participation in coalition operations.
The newly signed agreement further strengthens coordination between the two countries’ armed forces and intelligence capacities. It als advances scientific and technical cooperation between the two countries through information sharing and exchanges and promotes the deployment of trusted technologies with the aim of protecting critical systems and privacy.
“The United States remains committed to Bahrain and the region,” said Secretary Austin. “And we will continue to work with you to push back against all threats to regional stability, both from states and non-state actors.” He also expressed appreciation for the Bahraini foreign minister’s visit to Ukraine earlier this year.
HRH Prince Salman also praised the close ties between the US and Bahrain and extended his gratitude for US service members’ work alongside Bahraini armed forces to secure the region.
“Only by working together can nation states, both very large and small, each in their own realm of responsibility, provide for a more stable and productive world,” he said.
HRH Prince Salman later departed the US and was bid farewell by the National Security Adviser, Supreme Defence Council Secretary-General and Royal Guard Commander Lieutenant General Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Foreign Minister Dr Abdullatif Al Zayani, Finance and National Economy Minister Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Bahrain Defence Force Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Theyab bin Saqr Al Nuaimi, Sustainable Development Minister Noor Al Khulaif, Bahrain’s Ambassador to the US Shaikh Abdulla bin Rashid Al Khalifa, and senior officials.
Meanwhile, former US Ambassador to Bahrain Adam Ereli described the pact as “just the beginning for the Gulf”. “While all eyes were focused on other regional developments, including the possible US-Saudi-Israel deal, Washington and Manama were quietly negotiating a strengthening of the US commitment to the region that will have far-reaching consequences for the Gulf and beyond,” said Mr Ereli in his op-ed published by the Washington DC-based think tank Atlantic Council. “A new bar has been set, a new standard established from which there is no walking back,” he said. “This US-Bahrain pact will serve as the framework and basis for all future agreements with other regional powers—and they are coming, make no mistake.”
He also noted that US President Joe Biden’s administration has learned, adapted, and forged new policies “that will remake the modern Middle East”.