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Last updated: February 28, 2013

Bahrain welcomes UAE decision to ban LSE speaker

The Bahraini government has welcomed the UAE's decision to block the entry of a UK academic over his views on the country’s public uprising.

In a statement, the Bahraini ministry of foreign affairs said that the UAE's move was “a true reflection of the strong bonds of fraternity between the UAE and Bahrain.” It also called for “special care” to be taken to ensure impartiality and credibility in GCC universities, according to Wam, the UAE state news agency.

This Sunday February 24th, the UAE has denied entry to Dr Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, an academic with the London School of Economics (LSE) because of his “non-constructive” views over Bahrain.

In a statement, the UAE said that, “Dr Coates Ulrichsen has consistently propagated views de-legitimising the Bahraini monarchy, adding that “it would be unhelpful to allow non-constructive views on the situation in Bahrain to be expressed from within another GCC state.”

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Dr Ulrichsen was to speak at a conference (scheduled Feb 25) entitled “The New Middle East: Transition in the Arab World”. The conference, which is a joint venture between the LSE and the American University of Sharjah, was later cancelled after LSE cited concerns about restrictions that “threatened academic freedom”.

After his deportation, Dr Ulrichsen said in a tweet he was prevented entry to the UAE because his name appeared on a blacklist. He later tweeted that “#UAE Min of Foreign Affairs strikes death-blow to academic freedom in the country.”

Last year, Dr Ulrichsen, the co-director of the Kuwait programme at LSE, published a paper on “Bahrain's aborted revolution” in which he argued that while the hard crackdown on opposition has saved Bahrain's ruling family for now, the survival of the regime, “has come at a very high price economically and politically, and has shattered social cohesion in a country polarised as never before.”

LSE University came under fire in 2011 after revelations of its close links to the former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and was criticised for a ‘chapter of failures’ in its links with the former Libyan regime.

According to BBC, LSE has received £5.6m ($8.5m) from the Emirates Foundation, which is funded by the UAE government.

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