Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III welcomed increased security ties with Bahrain today in a meeting with the country's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
The two leaders met at the Pentagon one day after the U.S. and Bahrain signed the Comprehensive Security Integration Agreement to enhance cooperation on issues ranging from defense and security to emerging technologies and trade.
"This important bilateral agreement will deepen our already strong relationship and underscores America's commitment not only to Bahrain but to the entire region," Austin said. "It gives us a framework for cooperation in areas from security and trade to technology and information sharing. And together we will demonstrate that integration and inclusion are the paths to security, stability and prosperity."
Bahrain, a major non-NATO ally that hosts the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, remains as one of the United States' longest-standing partners in the Middle East.
Austin extended his appreciation for Bahrain's support of U.S. service members and their families stationed abroad and praised the country for its active participation in coalition operations.
The newly signed agreement further strengthens coordination between the two countries' armed forces and intelligence capacities.
The agreement also advances scientific and technical cooperation between the two countries through information sharing and exchanges and promotes the deployment of trusted technologies with the aim of protecting critical systems and privacy.
"The United States remains committed to Bahrain and the region," Austin said. "And we will continue to work with you to push back against all threats to regional stability both from states and non-state actors."
In addition to highlighting the new agreement, Austin u expressed appreciation for the Bahraini foreign minister's visit to Ukraine earlier this year. The crown prince, who also serves as Bahrain's prime minister, praised the close ties between Bahrain and the United States and extended his gratitude for U.S. service members' work alongside Bahraini armed forces to secure the region.
"Only by working together can nation states both very large and small, each in their own realm of responsibility, provide for a more stable and productive world," he said.