Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper hosted an enhanced honor cordon and meeting welcoming Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa of Bahrain to the Pentagon.
Esper said Bahrain has always been a steadfast partner to the United States, in large part because of the two nations’ close security relationship.
“Your nation has stepped up for decades to play a part in helping to deter conflict in one of the most important parts of the world,” he said. “We are grateful for the kingdom’s long-standing willingness to host the [U.S.] 5th Fleet, a partnership that began in 1995. This is indicative of the strong ties between our countries.”
Esper also mentioned the extension of the bilateral defense cooperation agreement between Bahrain and the United States. As a result of this agreement, Bahrain has played a critical role in sustaining continued U.S. naval operations in the Persian Gulf.
The defense secretary then turned to the topic of Iran. He said that recent events have shown that Iran continues to violate international norms and instead has chosen to promote instability and danger throughout the region.
“We greatly appreciate you working together with us and other friends of the rule of law and security to deter further provocative acts by Iran,” he said. “Matters at hand are regrettable and are of great concern to all of us in the world — those, at least, who value the international world order of peace, security and stability.”
Al-Khalifa said he was looking forward to today’s meeting to discuss ways to strengthen defense cooperation between Bahrain and the United States.