Bahrain has named Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary General Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani as the country’s next foreign minister, the Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported on Thursday, citing a decision by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.
Al-Zayani will replace Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa, who has served as minister since 2005 and will go on to serve as diplomatic adviser to King Hamad.
Al-Khalifa confirmed the news on Twitter and congratulated al-Zayani.
“I served his Majesty the King and my country with all that I had...I will continue serving them as long as I live…I now hand over the baton to a capable brother who I’ve learned a lot from,” said al-Khalifa in a post on Twitter.
Bahraini political columnist Abdullah Junaid said the new appointments are continuations of the King’s reform policies.
“Both appointees have much to give in their respective new positions, but Dr. al-Zayani will definitely add new dynamics to the apparatus and structure of the foreign ministry,” said Junaid in an interview with Al Arabiya English.
Al-Zayani’s term as GCC secretary general ends on March 31, a position to which he was appointed in 2010 and confirmed on April 1, 2011.
In November al-Khalifa described Bahrain’s commitment to the GCC as “unwavering,” in remarks at the IISS Manama Dialogue summit, adding that Gulf countries “cannot go it alone” in ensuring regional security.
The next GCC Summit will be held in Bahrain, al-Zayani announced in December.
Formed in 1981, the GCC is made up of six members: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, the UAE, and Qatar.