US navy says it flew terminally in poor health Bahrain PM to Minnesota | Center East
The State Department confirms that a C-17 flight brought Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa to the Mayo Clinic hospital two months before his death.
The US military flew Bahrain’s terminally ill Prime Minister to America for hospital care two months before his death, admitted the State Department and underscored the importance of the Kingdom of the Gulf Islands.
In a statement released Friday to The Associated Press news agency, the State Department said a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III had brought Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa to the Mayo Clinic hospital in Minnesota.
“In September, the United States provided medical transportation assistance to a US friend and ally, Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa,” it said.
The care offered to Sheikh Khalifa came immediately after the US military flew Kuwait’s late-reigning Emir similarly to the same hospital.
Both countries host important US military bases in the region and are considered important non-NATO allies who, along with Washington, grant them military and economic privileges.
On September 18, the C-17 Flying Hospital took off in Germany and landed in Rochester, Minnesota, home of the Mayo Clinic’s flagship campus. This was followed by a Boeing 767 to Rochester, which belonged to the Bahraini royal family.
The Mayo Clinic has refused then and since to comment on the care of Sheikh Khalifa, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 84.
The US Air Force uses such C-17s for medical evacuations, to test seriously wounded soldiers and to quickly fly them to key bases. The aircraft contains oxygen on board and the same life-saving equipment as in hospital emergency rooms.
The flights often include intensive care air transport teams made up of a medical specialist, a nurse, and a respiratory therapist.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Bahrain has expressed condolences on the death of Sheikh Khalifa.
“As Prime Minister of Bahrain since independence, Prince Khalifa was a statesman of the highest order and will always be known as a close friend and partner of the United States,” said Pompeo.
A Bahraini royal family Boeing 747 brought Sheikh Khalifa’s body home from Minnesota on Thursday. The funeral was restricted to the family due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bahrain is home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, which monitors the waterways of the Middle East.