Wednesday, March 23, 2011

China urges national dialog in Bahrain

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu

Source: Press TV

China has called for a national dialog in Bahrain as a way out of the crisis that has rocked the tiny Persian Gulf island country.

“We hope that all the relevant parties in Bahrain can begin nationwide discussions quickly, and restore peace and stability through dialog and peaceful means as soon as possible," Reuters quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu as saying at a regular news briefing in the capital Beijing on Tuesday.

The comments come as leader of Bahrain's opposition al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, Sheikh Ali Salman, has welcomed talks that will lead to the establishment of an elected government in the Persian Gulf monarchy.

Salman also reiterated that the presence of foreign troops in Bahrain will only complicate matters and keep the ruling government bogged down.

“We don't need the presence of foreign troops in Bahrain. We need a political solution. We need reconciliation and not attacks. We would like to solve our problem as an internal one. We call on Saudi Arabia to pull its forces out of Bahrain to let chances of finding a solution arise,” said the Bahraini opposition leader.

The deployment of military and police forces by Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf neighbors of Bahrain has highlighted concerns about possible spillover from the crisis-hit country, where month-old protest rallies seek to break the Western-backed government's monopoly on power.

Saudi and other Arab rulers fear that any concession by Bahrain's rulers could embolden more protests against their own despotic rules.

Recently, mass protests in Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Yemen have called for government reforms.

Foreign military interventions in Bahrain have served as a cause of concern for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who has urged a meaningful and broad-based national dialogue.

The UN chief has also called on Bahrain's regional neighbors and the international community to support a dialogue process and an environment conducive to credible reforms in Bahrain.

Bahraini opposition groups, including the main bloc al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, have denounced the Saudi military intervention as an invasion of their country.

The US military, which has its Fifth Fleet based there, has avoided describing the foreign troop intervention in Bahrain as an invasion.

Bahraini demonstrators maintain that they will hold their ground until their demands for freedom, constitutional monarchy as well as a proportional voice in the government are met.

At least 20 people have so far been killed and about 1,000 others have been injured since anti-government protests in the Persian Gulf island nation began in mid-February.

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