MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS), –
His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the king of the Kingdom of Bahrain, visited the headquarters of Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), June 12.
Vice Adm. Kevin M. Donegan, NAVCENT commander, and the U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain the Honorable William V. Roebuck greeted his majesty. During the visit, Navy officials briefed the king on current operations of the U.S. 5th Fleet and coalition operations to defeat ISIS.
Following the briefing, the king had dinner with the ambassador and Donegan, where they continued discussing issues of mutual interest.
The king was accompanied on this trip by two of his sons, His Highness Brig. Gen. Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, commander of the Royal Guard, and His Highness Maj. Shaikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Khalifa, commander of the Royal Guard Special Force, as well as Commander-in-Chief of the Bahrain Defense Force His Excellency Field Marshal Shaikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa and Commander of the Bahraini Royal Navy His Excellency Rear Adm. Shaikh Khalifa bin Abdullah Al Khalifa.
His majesty said the connection between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States was critical to regional maritime security and the free flow of commerce.
"The world's trade flows, its commerce, and ultimately its security depend on what happens in this critical region," the king said. "This region in turn depends on the vital strategic partnership between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States of America."
Donegan echoed those sentiments noting the mutually beneficial relationship.
"We host your majesty tonight in the spirit of friendship and partnership that has endured between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States for nearly 70 years," Donegan said. "Through your graciousness and leadership, the U.S. 5th Fleet has long had a home in the kingdom."
His majesty added that he looked forward to expanding the ties between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States, and that he sees the partnership between the two nations as a model for regional alliances.
"You can be assured that the cooperation of the United States is deeply appreciated in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Indeed we believe this partnership is an example of how two nations can work closely together for the common good," his majesty said.
The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.