US calls for urgent dialogue to end impasse

March 5, 2011


The US said there was a need for all parties in Bahrain to begin immediately a dialogue to answer the legitimate aspirations of the Bahraini people. “In our view, to be successful, the dialogue should include the full spectrum of Bahraini society, without exception,” Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, said.

“The dialogue will need to quickly produce concrete actions and reforms,” he told reporters in Manama.

However, the US official insisted that the process must be entirely Bahraini. Foreign parties should not step in.

“We call on all of Bahrain’s friends and neighbours to support fully a Bahraini process and to refrain, as we are, from interference or trying to impose a non-Bahraini solution from outside Bahrain,” he said.

“We believe strongly that civil society organisations must be a part of dialogue. Civil society has a key role to play in helping ensure that people’s needs are met, and in addressing aspirations for greater political openness and civic participation.

“All sectors of Bahrain’s population, including women and youth, must be a part of charting Bahrain’s way forward,” he said.

The national dialogue will open new vistas for the people and will help the country move ahead, he said.

“We support the steps taken by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa to defuse tensions and we commend the Crown Prince for pledging to undertake a comprehensive national dialogue. This represents a positive step,” he said, adding that there was confidence in the sincerity of the Crown Prince.


“The dialogue is real and the international community is watching,” he said.

However, he said that extremists must not impose the agenda.

“The goal is that the majority of Bahrainis feel that they have a stake in the outcome,” he said.

He insisted that the dialogue should be based on sound premises. “Negotiations need to lead to certain results. We do not start with results,” he said.

Feltman said that Bahrain can count on US support to back “a Bahraini consensus on the way forward.”

“Bahrain and the United States have shared a long and historic friendship. The United States will remain engaged in Bahrain, and we are unwavering in our support for Bahrain,” he said. “Bahrain is a critical partner of the United States going forward. Real credible reform is a critical part of Bahrain’s ability, going forward, to uphold stability, prosperity, and the rights of all of its people,” he said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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