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EMBASSY/CONSULATE ADDRESSES

Diplomatic Representation in the US:
Chief of Mission: Houda Nonoo
Embassy: 3502 International Drive, NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: (202) 342-1111
Fax: (202) 362-2192

Consulates General in:
New York
2 United Nations Plaza, 44th St., E., 25th Floor,
New York, NY 10017.
(212) 223-6200, FAX (212) 319-0687

US Diplomatic Representation:
Ambassador: Charge d'Affaires--Stephanie Williams
Embassy: Building 979, Road 3119, Block 331, Zinj, Manama, Bahrain
Mailing Address: PO Box 26431, Manama, Bahrain, or FPO New York 09526-6210
Telephone: (973) 273-300, after hours 715-126
Telex: 9398 USNATO BN
Fax: 973 270-547
Note: The Embassy's hours are 8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m., Saturdays-Wednesdays.


Embassy and Consulate Web Sites for Bahrain

Embassy of the United States of America in Manama, Bahrain
Embassy of Bahrain in Washington DC


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Since achieving independence in 1971, Bahrain has pursued a policy of close consultation with neighboring states. Bahrain became a member of the United Nations and the Arab League in 1971. In 1981 it joined its five neighbors--Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, the U.A.E., and Qatar--to form the strategic Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Bahrain has complied with GCC efforts to coordinate economic development and defense and security planning. In December 1994, for example, Bahrain concurred with the GCC decision to drop secondary and tertiary boycotts against Israel. Bahrain also responded positively to Kuwait's request to deploy the GCC collective defense Peninsula Shield Force during the buildup and execution of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) in 2003.

In addition to maintaining strong relations with its largest financial backers, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the U.A.E., Bahrain has worked to improve its relations with Qatar and has proper, but not warm, relations with Iran. Bahrain-Iran relations have been strained since the discovery in 1981 of an Iran-sponsored coup plot in Bahrain. Bahraini suspicions of the Iranian role in local unrest in the mid-1990s remain. On March 16, 2001, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) announced its judgment on the long-standing maritime delimitation and territorial dispute between Bahrain and Qatar. The binding judgment awarded sovereignty over the Hawar Islands and Qit'at Jaradah to Bahrain and sovereignty over Zubarah (part of the Qatar Peninsula), Janan Island, and Fasht ad Dibal to Qatar. The peaceful settlement of this dispute has allowed for renewed co-operation, including plans to construct a causeway between the two countries.

Bahrain's strategic partnership with the U.S. has intensified since 1991. Bahraini pilots flew strikes in Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War, and the country was used as a base for military operations in the Gulf. Bahrain provided logistical and basing support to international maritime interdiction efforts to enforce UN sanctions and prevent illegal smuggling of oil from Iraq in the 1990s. Bahrain also provided extensive basing and overflight clearances for a multitude of U.S. aircraft operating in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Bahrain deployed forces in support of coalition operations during both OEF and OIF. Bahrain has delivered humanitarian support and technical training to support the reconstruction of the Iraqi banking sector, and has offered support for each stage of Iraq's political transformation. Bahrain has also cooperated effectively on criminal investigation issues in support of efforts against terrorism; the Bahrain Monetary Agency (which became the Central Bank of Bahrain in September 2006) moved quickly to restrict terrorists' ability to transfer funds through Bahrain's financial system. In October 2006, Bahrain joined the U.S. and 23 other countries in a Proliferation Security Initiative interdiction exercise in the Persian Gulf.

U.S.-BAHRAINI RELATIONS
The American Mission Hospital, affiliated with the National Evangelical Church, has operated continuously in Bahrain for more than a century. Bahrain has also been a base for U.S. naval activity in the Gulf since 1947. When Bahrain became independent, the U.S.-Bahrain relationship was formalized with the establishment of diplomatic relations. The U.S. embassy at Manama was opened September 21, 1971, and a resident ambassador was sent in 1974. The Bahraini embassy in Washington, DC, opened in 1977. In October 1991, Amir Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa made a state visit to Washington. In 2001, Amir Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa made his first visit to the U.S. after succeeding his father in 1999. He returned to Washington on an official visit in January 2003. King Hamad made an official visit to Washington in November 2004 to meet with President George W. Bush and cabinet-level officials. In January 2008, President Bush made the first visit by a sitting President to Bahrain. King Hamad visited Washington in March 2008.

Bahrain and the United States signed a Defense Cooperation Agreement in October 1991 granting U.S. forces access to Bahraini facilities and ensuring the right to pre-position material for future crises. Bahrain is the headquarters of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet. The U.S. designated Bahrain a Major Non-NATO Ally in October 2001. Bahrain and the United States signed a Free Trade Agreement in 2004.

DEFENSE
The Bahrain Defense Force (BDF) numbers about 12,000 personnel and consists of army, navy, air force, air defense, and royal guard units. The public security forces and the coast guard are separate from the BDF and report to the Ministry of the Interior. Bahrain also has a national guard that consists of about 1,200 personnel. Bahrain's defense spending since 1999 has been steady. The government spends around $630 million annually on the military, about 20% of current expenditures. The parliamentary process has produced spirited debate over government spending, particularly defense spending, but no actual reductions.

With the help of the U.S. and the Gulf Cooperation Council, Bahrain has made significant efforts to upgrade its defense systems and modernize its armed forces over the last 20 years. In 1982, the GCC gave Bahrain $1.7 billion for this purpose. Since the 1991 Gulf War, the U.S. has provided military and defense technical assistance and training to Bahrain from Foreign Military Sales (FMS), commercial sources, and excess defense article sales (EDA), and under the International Military and Education Training (IMET) program. The U.S. Office of Military Cooperation in Bahrain is attached to the U.S. Embassy and manages the security assistance mission. U.S. military sales to Bahrain since 2000 total $1.4 billion. Principal U.S. military systems acquired by the BDF include eight Apache helicopters, 54 M60A3 tanks, 22 F-16C/D aircraft, 51 Cobra helicopters, 9 MLRS Launchers (with ATACMS), 20 M109A5 Howitzers, 1 Avenger AD system, and the TPS-59 radar system. Bahrain has received $195 million in FMF and $410 million in U.S. EDA acquisition value delivered since the U.S.-Bahraini program began in 1993. The Bahrain Defense Force also placed orders for 9 UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters and 2 Mk-V Fast Patrol Boats. Delivery of both systems was planned for 2009.

Military exercises are conducted on a regular basis to increase the BDF's readiness and improve coordination with the U.S. and other GCC forces. The BDF also sends personnel to the United States for military training. This training includes courses from graduate-level professional military education down to entry-level technical training.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
Charge d'Affaires--Stephanie Williams
Political/Economic Section Chief--Kari Paetzold
Economic/Commercial Officer--Benjamin Thomson
Consular Section Chief--Nausher Ali
Public Affairs Officer--Rachel Graaf
Management Officer--George Navadel


The U.S. Embassy in Bahrain is located off Sheikh Isa Highway, at Building 979, Road 3119, Block 321, Zinj, Manama, Bahrain. The mailing address is P.O. Box 26431, Manama, Bahrain; tel: [973] 242-700; fax: [973] 272-594. The embassy's hours of operation outside of Ramadan are 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Sundays-Thursdays.




TRAVEL ADVISORIES

To obtain the latest Travel Advisory Information for Bahrain check the U.S. State Department Consular Information Sheet


TRAVEL TIPS

Driving U.S Driving Permit and International Driving Permit are required
Currency (BHD) Bahraini Dinar
Electrical 230 Volts
Telephones Country Code 973, City Code Manama 17+6D



Climate and clothing: Wear summer clothes from May to mid- October and spring and fall attire from mid-October through April. Always dress conservatively in public.

Customs: A visa is required for entry. US citizens may purchase transit visas with 72-hour validity at Bahrain's international airport. A 7-day visa is also available. Single women traveling to Bahrain sometimes encounter difficulty obtaining airport visas; they are strongly advised to secure their visas before traveling. Travelers with Israeli visas and/or entry/exit stamps in their passports will be barred from entry.


Health: No immunizations are required for entry, but malaria suppressants are recommended. Health requirements change; check latest information. Tapwater is potable but highly saline in most areas; persons with sodium restrictions should drink bottled water. No unusual precautions regarding food and drink are necessary. Modern health services are provided in several hospitals and health centers.


Telecommunications: Telephone connections are excellent because international calls enter the satellite communications system from Bahrain. Bahrain is 8 hours ahead of eastern standard time. Cable and telex connections to leading hotels and businesses are good. Bahraini television features Arabic-and-English-language programs.


Transportation: Many major airlines serve Bahrain's modern international airport. Taxis and rental cars are available in Manama.

National Holidays: Businesses and shops may be closed on the following holidays. Actual dates depend on lunar calendar: Prophet's Birthday, November 3; Eid al-Fitr, May 29-30; Eid al-Adha, August 5-7; Islamic New Year, August 25; Ashura, September 3-6; National Day, December 16 (fixed date).

Further information available from the Superintendent of Documents, United States Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402.


CUSTOMS/DUTIES

Tobacco.....................200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 250 grams of tobacco products

Liquor........................1 litre alcoholic beverage; 6 bottles of beer (non-muslims passengers only)

Perfume.... .................8 oz of perfume

Gifts/souvenirs.............under us$667 in value

Currency.....................no restrictions

Cameras.....................no restrictions

Agriculture items..........refer to consulate

Firearms/ammunition....prohibited

Drugs..........................prohibited

Jewellery and all items orginating in israel may only be imported under licence.



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