Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with Bahraini Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa at the Pentagon today, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.
In a statement issued after the meeting, Little said Hagel underscored the importance of the defense relationship, which is the foundation of the nearly seven-decade U.S.-Bahrain bilateral partnership.
Hagel also thanked Crown Prince Salman for Bahrain’s hosting of U.S. Fifth Fleet headquarters and support to thousands of Department of Defense personnel and their families deployed to Bahrain, Little said.
Hagel congratulated the crown prince on his appointment as first deputy prime minister and indicated he looked forward to working with the crown prince in his new capacity to expand cooperation between the two nations, Little said.
Hagel and the crown prince discussed numerous regional security issues including the crisis in Syria, he added.
The secretary made clear U.S. support for Bahrain’s security and stability and noted that meaningful and sustained political reform and respect for all citizens’ rights is the only way to achieve a durable and stable Bahrain, Little said.
To that end, the secretary commended King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa’s calling of the national dialogue and urged all sides to continue constructive dialogue to realize a political solution, Little said.
Hagel concluded the meeting by affirming support for the crown prince and his work in advancing reform and dialogue in Bahrain, Little said.