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Bahrain denies extending invitation to previously expelled US diplomat

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MANAMA, Bahrain — Bahrain has denied that it extended an invitation to a top U.S. diplomat who was earlier expelled after he met with a leading Shiite opposition group.

PHOTO: Bahrainis, some of them waving flags, chant anti-government slogans and hold up signs urging freedom for jailed doctors, political leaders and others during a march in Jidhafs, Bahrain, Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014. The sign at back second right reads, "free blind prisoner Jaffar Matooq for treatment." A small group of youths began blocking streets to challenge riot police after the march by opposition groups accusing the government of naturalizing tens of thousands of people, largely to work in the police and military, in an effort to change the tiny Gulf island monarchy's demographics. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)
Bahrainis, some of them waving flags, chant anti-government slogans and hold up signs urging freedom for jailed doctors, political leaders and others during a march in Jidhafs, Bahrain, Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014. The sign at back second right reads, "free blind prisoner Jaffar Matooq for treatment." A small group of youths began blocking streets to challenge riot police after the march by opposition groups accusing the government of naturalizing tens of thousands of people, largely to work in the police and military, in an effort to change the tiny Gulf island monarchy's demographics. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

The Gulf island kingdom's undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abdulla Abdullatif Abdulla, said in comments posted by the official Bahrain News Agency on Thursday evening that no invitation has been made to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski.

Abdulla was responding to comments by U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki earlier this week, who said Malinowski had received an invitation and a trip was being planned.

Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, has seen more than three years of unrest as its majority Shiites push for greater political rights from the Sunni monarchy.

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