Bahrain names GCC head as new foreign minister

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Abdullatif Al Zayani will take up the post when his term ends as GCC secretary general later this year

Jan 2, 2020

January 2, 2020

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Bahrain on Thursday appointed Abdullatif Al Zayani, the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, as the kingdom's next foreign minister.

Mr Al Zayani will be replacing Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, a veteran diplomat who has been in the position since 2005.

The state-run Bahrain News Agency said King Hamad Al Khalifa made the decision and also appointed Khalid bin Ahmed as his diplomatic adviser.

The agency said Mr Al Zayani will take up his post when his term as GCC secretary general ends in 2020 but did not give a precise date.

Mr Al Zayani has been at the centre of GCC efforts to manage tension with Iran, which escalated since last year.

The organisation has been affected by the dispute between Saudi Arabia and Qatar since June 2017, when Riyadh, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut transport and trade links with Doha over its support for what they regard as terrorist organisations.

The GCC’s secretary general since 2011, Mr Al Zayani comes from a military background, having attended the British military school at Sandhurst in 1973.

He obtained an aviation engineering degree in Scotland in 1978 and a PhD in military studies in the US in 1986.

He served in the Bahraini infantry, air force and then become deputy chief of staff. He also headed the country’s police force. Mr Zayani has six children.

Updated: January 2, 2020 09:04 PM

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