The Bahraini crown prince’s call for normal relations with Israel should be seen in the perspective of an effort to evolve people to people level understanding, Bahraini ambassador Khaled Jabor al-Mosallam has said.
In an interview with local Arabic daily Al-Arab, the envoy said the measures taken in this regard by several Arab states so far at the government level, most importantly Egypt, had ended up as a damp squib because of lack of popular support.
“We have in our parliament a committee with the declared purpose of not to have normal relations with Israel. And needless to say most of the Arab governments will not agree to normal relations unless the conditions set forth by them are accepted and implemented by Israel. This was reiterated recently by the Saudi Arabian government in response to a suggestion made by US President Barrack Obama.”
On the new sponsorship law, he said Bahrain’s decision to make major changes to the sponsorship system with effect from this month was a major step in keeping with the changing times.
“Individual freedom, human rights and many other related factors have gone into taking this major decision. It seeks to provide an atmosphere of freedom in all spheres of activity for the nationals and expatriates. We will undoubtedly face many hurdles and difficulties in the implementation of this decision. We are not suggesting to the other GCC countries to make a similar move. It is for each country to decide in the light of its interests.”
On bilateral relations, he said a dual visa system was expected to be finalised between Doha and Manama whereby a tourist entering Qatar automatically gained a visa to Bahrain. The arrangement will ease travel on the Qatar-Bahrain Causeway (The Friendship Bridge) currently being built.
Asked about the GCC power grid, he said the power link between Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait was a major move towards facilitating the supply of power between these countries. “It signifies the will to share resources in a vital sector,” he added.