Members of the UK Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee have travelled to Bahrain today, as part of their ongoing inquiry into UK policy with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. It is understood the visit is for 2 days only and a statement from the committee said the aim was to “reach a better understanding of the conditions on the ground.”
Committee Chair, Richard Ottoway MP, is heading the delegation although it is not known which other MP’s are joining the visit. According to pro-Government newspaper, Gulf Daily News, the delegation will meet with Government representatives, expats and civilians during their stay. Ali Alaswad, a resigned MP from Al Wefaq has urged the delegation to visit what he describes “the real Bahrain” in an open letter to committee members. He said, “During your visit the Government will attempt to blindfold you from the reality, by dining you in expensive restaurants, showing you only what they want you to see and constructing a narrative that peaceful protesters are rioters and terrorists, whilst they are modern and democratic Government.”
He went on to add, “Visit the villages and you will see our hospitality. Go to Sitra, Karzakan, Al Dair and Sanabis. A lot of our people don’t have very much, living in small modest homes in run-down villages, and so they won’t be able to treat you to fancy restaurants and plush hotels, but they will stop at nothing to make you feel at home.”
The Foreign Affairs Committee has been conducting an inquiry into UK policy in the Gulf since the beginning of this year, hosting a number of evidence sessions with prominent British figures. Further sessions are scheduled to take place after the visit to Bahrain. The committee will also be visiting Saudi Arabia as part of the inquiry.