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Bahrain ‘rejects’ moves to smear Saudi standing

MANAMA: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (center) is presented with the Order of Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifa, Bahrain’s highest honor, by King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa on Sunday. – AFP

DUBAI: Bahrain has said it “completely rejects” attempts to tarnish the reputation of neighboring Saudi Arabia, whose powerful crown prince has been under intense scrutiny since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was in Manama Sunday night for talks with Bahrain’s King Hamad as part of a regional tour, the state-run Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported. “The king reiterated Bahrain’s complete rejection of attempts targeting Saudi Arabia,” said a statement carried by BNA yesterday. “Saudi Arabia is a nation of security, safety, justice and rights.”
Prince Mohammed visited Abu Dhabi Thursday as he began his first tour abroad since the murder of the Saudi journalist in October. Saudi Arabia has been facing intense global criticism over the killing of insider-turned-critic Khashoggi in its Istanbul consulate. The murder of the Washington Post columnist has tipped the kingdom into one of its worst crises. He was killed and reportedly dismembered in what Saudi Arabia said was a “rogue” operation.

Prince Mohammed began his regional tour at the request of his father, King Salman, according to the Saudi Press Agency, which said he would visit “brotherly” Arab countries. The Egyptian presidency said the prince was due to arrive in Cairo later yesterday for talks with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. Prince Mohammed is expected to attend the G20 summit in Argentina next week.

Meanwhile, around 100 people protested in Tunisia against a visit by Prince Mohammed over the murder of Khashoggi. Tunisia’s presidency said Prince Mohammed will visit the North African nation for several hours today, without providing details on the program. Tunisia is one of the few Arab states where demonstrations are allowed, following a 2011 uprising that toppled veteran ruler Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and ushered in freedom of speech and the press. – Agencies

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