U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski meets with Bahrain’s Al-Wefaq in July, in a handout photo from the group.
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
WASHINGTON — Diplomatic tensions flared anew this week between the U.S. and longtime ally Bahrain, with the Gulf State denying a U.S. claim that a top State Department official had been invited back to the country after he was ejected in a dispute last month.
The State Department said earlier this week that Tom Malinowski, the assistant secretary of State for democracy, human rights and labor, had received an invitation to return to Bahrain after he was declared persona non grata there last month.
The Bahraini government and U.S. officials provided different accounts of why Mr. Malinowski was asked to leave, clashing over the diplomat’s meeting with opposition leaders.
The back-and-forth continued Thursday, when Bahrain’s undersecretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abdulla Abdullatif Abdulla, said Bahrain didn’t invite Mr. Malinowski to return, according to Bahrain’s state news agency, BNA.
Mr. Abdulla cautioned that Ms. Psaki “should pay careful consideration when making statements so as not to carry inaccuracies and false accusations towards a country that is both a friend and an ally of the United States of America,” according to BNA.
Earlier this month, Bahrain denied entry to Rep. James McGovern (D., Mass.) and Brian Dooley of the advocacy group Human Rights First. Ms. Psaki said the State Department raised the issue with the Bahraini government.
Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th fleet, and has been roiled by three years of political unrest as opposition groups representing the country’s Shiite majority have demanded political rights from the country’s ruling Sunni monarchy.
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