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US partially resumes military supplies to Bahrain
Posted On: May 14, 2012
The High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (Humvee). A BNS Photo.
The United States has said it is partially resuming sales of military supplies to key Gulf Arab ally Bahrain but maintaining a freeze on certain wire-guided missiles and vehicles.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said "the items that we are releasing are not used for crowd control," urging Bahrain to tackle "serious unresolved human rights issues" amid a crackdown on pro-democracy activists.
The equipment and services were released "for the purpose of helping Bahrain maintain its external defence capabilities," she said.
Although Nuland did not provide further details about the items, her statement entitled "Renewal of US Security Cooperation with Bahrain" was explicit about what would not be sent.
"We will continue to maintain the holds on the TOW missiles and Humvees that were notified to Congress last October," she said amid concerns they could be used against protesters.
Nuland was referring to Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided missiles as well as the all-terrain Humvees that have replaced the traditional jeep.
"Certain additional items for the Bahrain Defence Force, as well as all items for the Ministry of the Interior, excepting the Coast Guard and units deployed in Afghanistan, will also remain on hold," she added.
A Congressional Research Service report last month said Washington had not discontinued arms sales and anti-terrorism aid to Bahrain, but some of the supplies remained on hold or were at reduced levels following the unrest.
The announcement on military cooperation came amid a visit to the United States by Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa who met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton here Wednesday.
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