WASHINGTON, July 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of State said Monday it was "deeply concerned" that the Government of Bahrain had declared a senior U.S. diplomat persona non grata.
The Bahrain News Agency reported that the foreign ministry decided to PNG Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski because "the U.S. official intervened flagrantly in Bahrain's internal affairs and held meetings with a particular party to the detriment of other interlocutors, thus discriminating between one people, contravening diplomatic norms and flouting normal interstate relations."
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki challenged that account, insisting that Assistant Aecretary Malinowski's visit "had been coordinated far in advance" with the Bahraini government, "which is well-aware that U.S. government officials routinely meet with all officially-recognized political societies."
Psaki also pointed out that the government of Bahrain, "in violation of international diplomatic protocol," insisted that a foreign ministry official be present for all of the senior U.S. official's private meetings, including meetings held at the U.S. embassy.
"These actions," the State Department asserted, "are not consistent with the strong partnership between the United States and Bahrain."