Bahrain seeks to end US envoy 'interference'

Bahrain's cabinet on Sunday approved a parliamentary proposal to stop "interference" by the US envoy in the kingdom's affairs, the government spokeswoman said, without clarifying what measures would be taken.

"The cabinet has approved a proposal by the parliament to put an end to the interference of US Ambassador Thomas Krajeski in Bahrain's internal affairs," the official BNA news agency reported Samira Rajab as saying.

It also aims at putting an end to "his repeated meetings with instigators of sedition" -- a government term for Shiite protesters who frequently clash with police.

However, "the diplomatic measures Bahrain will take do not include dismissing the envoy," said Rajab, adding that Manama "will commit to international agreements in dealing with the US ambassador."

The tiny but strategic Gulf kingdom, home to the US Fifth Fleet, has been hit since February 2011 by Shiite-led protests calling for the ouster of Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, an uncle of King Hamad.

The premier has been in office since 1971.

On April 25, Bahrain voiced "dismay" over an assessment by the US State Department of the rights situation in the kingdom, saying it contained "texts which are totally far from the truth, adopting a manner that fuels terror and terrorists targeting Bahrain's national security."

A US State Department report released on April 19 said that "the most serious human rights problems included citizens' inability to change their government peacefully; arrest and detention of protesters on vague charges, in some cases leading to their torture in detention."