FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Strengthens Partnership with Kingdom of Bahrain and Launches "Comprehensive Security Integration and Prosperity Agreement"
Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing that the United States will strengthen its strategic partnership with the Kingdom of Bahrain during a visit to Washington by His Royal Highness the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Bahrain, Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. Bahrain is one of the United States of America's longest and closest partners in the Middle East, host to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, a Major Non-NATO Ally, and a Major Security Partner. To build on these ties, the Administration is launching the "Comprehensive Security Integration and Prosperity Agreement" (C-SIPA) with Bahrain – a new framework to promote cooperation across a range of areas, from defense and security to science, technology, and trade. The Crown Prince's visit to Washington is the culmination of nearly a year's worth of diplomatic engagement, including multiple trips to Manama by senior U.S. officials, and follows on the Crown Prince's visit to Washington in 2022 and his bilateral meeting with Vice President Harris.
At the Jeddah Summit in July 2022, the President outlined his broad and affirmative vision for a Middle East that is more secure, prosperous, and integrated both regionally and with the world economy. C-SIPA further advances that vision by formalizing cooperation to deter conflict in the region, enhance regional stability, de-escalate tensions, and bolster trade and economic cooperation – including through the development and deployment of advanced technologies with trusted vendors. This agreement follows the announcement last week at the G20 of a transformational economic corridor between India, the Middle East, and Europe, the development of which will open unprecedented opportunities for the Gulf region, which serves as an economic engine and gateway between continents. The United States is pleased to finalize C-SIPA and is poised to begin its implementation in earnest.
Comprehensive Security Integration and Prosperity Agreement
Secretary Blinken and Crown Prince/Prime Minister Salman today signed C-SIPA in an official ceremony at the State Department. This new bilateral agreement can serve as a cornerstone for cooperation among a broader grouping of countries that share mutual interests and a common vision with respect to deterrence, diplomacy, security and economic integration, and de-escalation of conflicts in the Middle East region. C-SIPA is the latest manifestation of the United States' enduring commitment to Bahrain and to the region in support of peace and shared prosperity.
After two decades of major conflicts in the Middle East region, the American people benefit from a region that is more peaceful, more secure, and more integrated internally and with the broader global economy. Our partnership under C-SIPA will deliver on that goal by:
- Enhancing deterrence, including through expanded defense and security cooperation, interoperability, and mutual intelligence capacity-building. C-SIPA will help formalize steps being taken by U.S. Central Command to integrate the region's air and missile defense systems and increase maritime domain awareness, among other initiatives;
- Promoting cooperation on trade and investment, building on the existing U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement;
- Encouraging investments in global supply chain resilience and infrastructure; and
- Promoting the development and deployment of trusted technologies, including in digital and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure supply chains, to support secure and resilient global telecommunications networks. C-SIPA is the first binding U.S. international agreement of its kind to promote cooperation in developing and deploying trusted technologies – a critical feature of today's international security environment.
U.S.-Bahrain Strategic Partnership
The United States established official relations with Bahrain in 1971, but America's cultural and social ties with Bahrain go back to the nineteenth century and the arrival of American missionaries who built a school, hospital, and church – all of which are still in operation today. Since then, Bahrain has become one of the United States' closest partners in the Middle East region.
Defense and Security Cooperation
- Bahrain hosts the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet (one of seven numbered fleets around the world) and the headquarters of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT). Bahrain hosts thousands of U.S. service members and is the only country in the U.S. Central Command region to host military spouses and families. It also hosts and is a member of the 38-nation Combined Maritime Forces and the 11-member International Maritime Security Construct. The U.S. military's presence in Bahrain dates back to World War II. This presence has advanced U.S. interests by keeping vital commercial shipping lanes safe, deterring threats, and enabling broader coalitions to operate.
- Bahrain was the first Gulf country to receive F-16s in the 1990s. In March 2023, Bahrain took delivery of the first of 16 F-16 Block-70 fighter jets. In doing so, it becomes the first customer to receive the latest generation Block 70 aircraft, a purchase that will nearly double the size of Bahrain's F-16 fleet.
- Bahrain was the first regional partner to work with the U.S. Navy on integrating new unmanned systems and artificial intelligence after NAVCENT established Task Force 59 in September 2021. Last year, Bahrain committed to partnering with regional countries and the United States to build a multinational fleet of 100 unmanned surface vessels.
- NAVCENT and Bahrain conduct an annual large-scale bilateral military exercise with a specific focus on the maritime domain. The next iteration of this exercise, DIAMOND DEFENDER 2024, will focus on maritime domain awareness, as well as command, control and communication, while integrating manned and unmanned capabilities.
- Bahrain has been a Major Non-NATO Ally since 2002 and a Major Security Partner since 2021. C-SIPA will provide an important avenue for enhancing this historic record of defense and security cooperation between our countries.
Regional Integration Collaboration
- Bahrain has been instrumental in supporting a regional vision of de-escalation and broader integration, including within the Gulf Cooperation Council and other countries in the Middle East region.
- Bahrain will benefit from the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor that was announced at the recent G20 meeting in India, with a vision to connect ports and rail lines across continents to open new markets and enhance trade throughout the region.
- Bahrain normalized relations with Israel in 2020 and has welcomed a series of senior Israel leaders, business people, healthcare experts, and youth to Bahrain.
- More recently, the Negev Forum has brought together Arabs and Israelis, including the largest gathering since the 1990s, to deepen existing areas of cooperation and explore new ones. Bahrain co-chairs with the United States the Negev Forum's Regional Security and Health Working Groups.
- In 2021, Bahrain inaugurated direct flights to Israel's primary airport, Ben Gurion International Airport, further enhancing people-to-people ties.
Commercial and Economic Ties
- Bahrain is a valued economic partner, and a Free Trade Agreement with the United States entered into force in 2006. Since then, bilateral trade has more than tripled from $780 million to nearly $3 billion last year.
- Last year, Bahrain inaugurated a U.S. Trade Zone where U.S. companies can develop new products and reach untapped markets, adding to supply chain resiliency. During the Crown Prince's visit, both sides welcomed the chance to identify strategic investment opportunities that benefit the United States and Bahrain in areas such as global supply chain resilience, diversification, and critical infrastructure – including through "friendshoring" with trusted allies and partners.
- During the Crown Prince's visit, both countries have set a target for launching direct flights between the United States and Bahrain by summer 2024. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration will begin work with the Bahrain Civil Aviation Authority this month to prepare for a safety assessment that, if successful, will pave the way for direct flights between the two countries.
- Bahrain's Gulf Air has purchased twelve Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft to service long-haul routes, including three configured to serve routes to the United States. Boeing has already delivered eight aircraft and two more are scheduled for delivery this fall, with the rest to be delivered in the coming years.
- Both sides committed during the visit to exploring ways of cooperating on commercial, advanced small modular reactors (SMRs) as part of Bahrain's clean energy transition. SMRs are a key part of the Biden-Harris Administration's goal of addressing the climate crisis through the accelerated deployment of innovative, zero-carbon technologies.
- In 2022, Bahrain became the first "Global Entry" partner country in the region with U.S. Customs and Border Control. Since then, many Bahraini travelers have qualified for expedited, secure travel to the United States. To qualify for Global Entry, Bahrain had to meet stringent security standards, exemplifying our longstanding partnership of trust.
Governance and Human Rights
- Human rights are a key part of the U.S.-Bahrain Strategic Dialogue, as well as an integral part of the President's National Security Strategy. The most recent Strategic Dialogue took place in July 2023, and was co-chaired by Secretary Blinken and Bahraini Foreign Minister Zayani. This format has enabled both countries to engage in constructive dialogue on the importance of universal values, human rights, and fundamental freedoms. Promoting human rights was also an important topic of discussion during the Crown Prince-Prime Minister's visit to Washington this week.
Joseph R. Biden, FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Strengthens Partnership with Kingdom of Bahrain and Launches "Comprehensive Security Integration and Prosperity Agreement" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/364948