Listen to RFI News
Expand Player
 
Listen Download Podcast
  • Paris Live PM 1300 - 1400 GMT
    News bulletin 05/24 13h00 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 1300 - 1400 GMT
    News bulletin 05/23 13h00 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 1300 - 1400 GMT
    News bulletin 05/22 13h00 GMT
  • 13h00 - 14h00 GMT
    News bulletin 04/05 13h00 GMT
  • 13h00 - 14h00 GMT
    News bulletin 04/04 13h00 GMT
  • 13h00 - 14h00 GMT
    News bulletin 04/03 13h00 GMT
To take full advantage of multimedia content, you must have the Flash plugin installed in your browser. To connect, you need to enable cookies in your browser settings. For an optimal navigation, the RFI site is compatible with the following browsers: Internet Explorer 8 and above, Firefox 10 and +, Safari 3+, Chrome 17 and + etc.
France

France looks to assuage Bahrain after criticizing it over human rights

media Manama,Bahrain Getty Images/Jane Sweeney

France sought to assuage Bahrain on Friday after rare criticism by its ambassador to the kingdom over human rights and an honorary citizenship by Paris of a rights campaigner sparked anger in Manama, three sources said.

France, one of the five veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council, has close ties with Gulf Arab states, in particular Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and rarely publicly criticizes internal political issues.

However, French ambassador Cecile Longe tweeted on June 7 that Paris was deeply concerned by the “treatment of human rights defenders and political opponents in the country” and specifically criticized the confirmation of a five-year prison sentence for opposition member Nabeel Rajab.

Rajab was sentenced to five years in prison in February for criticizing a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen and accusing Bahrain’s prison authorities of torture.

Longe’s tweets were followed by a decision on Monday by Paris town hall to make the activist an honorary citizen of the French capital.

“The Bahrainis went apoplectic after this because the symbolism of it was a step too far,” said one source aware of the matter.

A Bahraini emissary was dispatched to Paris on Friday to underscore Manama’s disapproval over the issue, two diplomatic sources said.

The sources said the decision had pushed the Bahrainis to look to call off the king’s official visit to Paris, which had been due at the end of June.

One of the two diplomats said Manama had informed Paris that the visit, which had never been officially announced, could not go ahead due to a death in the royal family.

The French presidency declined to comment. France’s foreign ministry said it stood by the ambassador’s tweets. Bahrain’s embassy in Pari

Related
 
Sorry but the period of time connection to the operation is exceeded.