Bahrain denies calling in British spin doctors to polish tarnished image
Bahrain has denied a press report claiming that its government and opposition figures are being trained in negotiation and conflict resolution techniques by a British non-government organisation (NGO).
“The report published by the Guardian about a private organisation providing the government and the opposition with advice on negotiation, conflict resolution and the application of lessons drawn from other places in a Middle Eastern context is baseless,” Sameera Rajab, the state minister for information affairs, said.
The report in the British newspaper said that the training was provided by Jonathan Powell, who was chief of staff under former British prime minister Tony Blair, and InterMediate, a small NGO actively providing conflict resolution services in several parts of the world.
Powell was reportedly asked to undertake the work when Bahrain apparently approached the UK Foreign Office for help with implementing the recommendations of an independent report on last year’s unrest, the daily said.
However, Sameera rejected the claim, saying that the issue in Bahrain was purely domestic.
She said King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa has “repeatedly stressed that what is happening in Bahrain is a purely domestic matter and that all doors to dialogue are open for all in order to reach satisfactory agreements on an end to violence and to terrorising citizens and residents and on achieving security and stability in the country”.
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