The US and Bahrain signed a new strategic security and economic agreement Wednesday to expand security and defense cooperation amid increasing power competition in the region.
The agreement was signed during a ceremony at the State Department between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who is also the country's prime minister.
"This agreement will strengthen coordination between our armed forces and the integration of our intelligence capacities, allowing us to even better deter and respond to threats as they arise," Blinken told reporters.
It also enhances the two countries' economic relationship, he said, adding they are also collaborating in areas like health security and digital technology.
"We’ll start the process of working together on renewable energy, on carbon capture technologies and other cutting-edge endeavors," he said.
"At the heart of the agreement is a shared goal: working together to build a region that is more secure, that’s more prosperous, and that’s more connected to the world economy," Blinken said.
"We’re looking forward to using this agreement as a framework for additional countries that may wish to join us in strengthening regional stability, economic cooperation and technological innovation."
Al Khalifa said the agreement "will be the foundation for a new global architecture."
“We will be welcoming more members hopefully. That, I think, is as significant as the decisions that were taken after many of the global upheavals historically,” he said.
After the signing ceremony, Al Khalifa met with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan at the White House.
"Mr. Sullivan reaffirmed the United States’ enduring commitment to Bahrain’s security and thanked the Crown Prince for Bahrain’s steadfast partnership – including hosting the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet and the headquarters of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command," said a White House readout of the meeting.
"Both sides welcomed the signing today of the Comprehensive Security Integration and Prosperity Agreement (C-SIPA), a landmark new framework for enhancing cooperation across a range of areas – from defense and intelligence to advanced technology and trade and investment," it said.
"C-SIPA will serve as a cornerstone for enhanced bilateral cooperation between the United States and Bahrain, and is in line with President (Joe) Biden’s vision for a more stable and prosperous Middle East region forged through security and economic integration between allies and partners," it added.