King Abdullah to Bahrainis: We are one nation

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, draped in Bahraini flag, and King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, draped in Saudi flag, join the Ardah dance during a reception ceremony at Al-Sakhir Palace in Bahrain on Sunday. (SPA)

By ARAB NEWS

MANAMA: Bahrain honored Custodian of  the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah by giving him the historic Ajrab sword of Imam Turki bin Abdullah, which the country has been keeping for 140 years, and conferred on him the Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifa Medal during a colorful ceremony at Al-Sakhir Palace here Sunday.

King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, who presided over the function, welcomed King Abdullah and his delegation to Bahrain and thanked him for the landmark visit. “On this occasion, I have the pleasure to give you the sword of your grandfather Imam Turki bin Abdullah, on behalf of the entire Al-Khalifa family,” he said.

In his short crisp speech, King Abdullah emphasized the historic relations between the two GCC neighbors. “Our visit today is not to add anything new, but to tell others that we are one nation and one people in good times as well as in bad times,” said King Abdullah drawing applause from the gathering.

In his welcome speech, King Hamad said the sword, nicknamed “Ajrab,” was sent to his great grandfather Sheikh Isa bin Ali Al-Khalifa by Imam Saud bin Faisal Al-Saud. “Ajrab remained a symbol of the one family having a united stand over the years,” he said. Bahrain’s king also quoted a historic statement of King Abdul Aziz, the founder of Saudi Arabia, when he visited Al-Sakhir Palace. “Let our hearts be united until the Day of Judgment,” King Abdul Aziz told Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, the grandfather.

Bahrain gave its highest medal to King Abdullah in appreciation of his contribution to the Arab and Islamic Ummah. King Abdullah thanked King Hamad for his kind words, and for expressing his good feelings about Saudi Arabia and its people. King Abdullah reciprocated by decorating the Bahraini monarch with the King Abdul Aziz Medallion of the First Order.

Following the ceremony, the two leaders held a one-on-one meeting at Al-Sakhir Palace and discussed major regional and international issues. King Abdullah ordered the establishment of a SR1 billion medical city under Arabian Gulf University in Manama as a gift to the people of Bahrain. Khaled Al-Ouhali, the university’s vice chancellor, said the medical city would be named after King Abdullah.

King Abdullah was accompanied by a high-level delegation including Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, intelligence chief Prince Muqrin, Education Minister Prince Faisal bin Abdullah, Deputy Commander of the National Guard for Executive Affairs Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf and Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja.

In a statement on the occasion, Prince Salman bin Hamad, the crown prince of Bahrain, commended King Abdullah’s key role in building bridges of love between cultures and civilizations based on a spirit of tolerance, friendship and mutual respect. He underlined the reputation King Abdullah enjoys at the Arab and international levels and his stance supporting Arab and Islamic causes.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa said the royal visit is living proof of the brotherly relations between the two royal families. “King Abdullah’s historic visit will open up horizons for further cooperation,” the minister said. Saudi Arabia is Manama’s largest trading partner with the Saudi investment in the country amounting to SR7 billion. Saudis have investments in 315 companies in Bahrain.

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