Gulf states urge Britain to expel Bahrain dissidents
Foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council have called on Britain to expel two leaders of Bahrain's Shiite opposition charged with plotting to oust the kingdom's Sunni government.
The six GCC states urged Britain "to deal seriously with terrorist groups and individuals supporting terrorism... and not to grant them political asylum, or allow them to exploit the climate of freedom to damage the security and stability of member countries."
In a statement issued after a meeting of the bloc in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah late Monday, the ministers also expressed support for Bahrain's move to curb "terror," after it charged 23 Shiite opposition activists, including the two London-based leaders, on Saturday with "forming a terror network".
Husain Mashaima is secretary general of Haq -- the Movement of Liberties and Democracy -- a Shiite group which rejected as inadequate 2002 reforms intended to put an end to Shiite-led unrest that rocked the 35-island archipelago through the 1990s.
Saeed al-Sheehabi is secretary general of the Bahrain Freedom Islamic Movement.
The crackdown on the opposition activists, which followed sporadic acts of violence in recent months, has raised tensions in the runup to an October 23 parliamentary election.
Sheikh Ali Salman -- leader of the mainstream Shiite opposition Islamic National Accord Association, which took part in the last election in 2006 winning 17 of the 40 seats in parliament -- warned last month that it would "lead to more protests."
The GCC consists of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well as Bahrain.
© 2010 AFP