Bahrain says committed to dialogue
Manama, March 19, 2011
Bahrain remains committed to dialogue with the opposition but restoring security is a top priority, said Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.
More GCC troops will arrive in the kingdom to support its forces, Shaikh Khalid said at a news conference last night.
Three or four GCC states are sending troops and the forces will remain in the country for as long as it takes to restore order. Their role will be limited to guarding strategic assets such as oil facilities.
However, they will not be involved in quelling protests, the Foreign Minister added.
'We look with all confidence to the return of normal life in Bahrain,' Shaikh Khalid said.
'HRH the Crown Prince has waited for months for the dialogue to start, but unfortunately his invitation has not been responded to except by putting forward impossible conditions,' the Foreign Minister said.
'I would like to emphasise that the dialogue will be open to all citizens after the return of normal life, security and civil peace,' he said. 'We know dialogue is our path.'
He also rejected criticism from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said the Gulf intervention is a step on the 'wrong track', saying that Bahrain looks forward to clarifying the situation.
The Foreign Minister dismissed suggestions that Saudi Arabia had pressured Bahrain into allowing the intervention of outside troops, saying the issue had been discussed with the GCC in several talks.
Shaikh Khalid said Iran's statements are a blatant interference in the affairs of Bahrain and the thugs who sabotage and violate human rights are gangs made up of Bahrainis not subject to the authority of Iran.
'It is better for Iran to maintain its relations with neighbouring countries and address its problems that are worse than Bahrain's, and stop exporting its problems abroad.'-TradeArabia News Service