UN, UK welcome Bahrain’s call for national dialogue

June 2, 2011

The United Nations has welcomed the call by Bahrain’s King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa to hold a national dialogue in July and the announcement of the end of the emergency laws imposed in March.

“Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the announcement of the lifting of the State of “National Safety” (emergency) in Bahrain, as well as the call made by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa for a national dialogue to begin on July 1,” Ban’s press office said in a statement.

“The Secretary-General hopes that such a dialogue will be genuine and meaningful and lead to an inclusive reform process aimed at meeting the political, economic and social aspirations of all Bahraini people,” the statement said.

Human rights

The UN top official appealed to all national stakeholders to work constructively towards creating a conducive environment for such a dialogue to take place and reiterated his call on the Bahraini authorities and the security forces in the country to act in accordance with relevant international norms and standards with regard to human rights and fundamental freedoms.

In London, Britain also welcomed both developments, but said that it wanted Bahrain to uphold political freedoms.

“We welcome the King’s announcement of a National Dialogue and the lifting of the State of National Safety,” Alistair Burt, Foreign Office minister, said. “It’s now critical that there is concrete change and genuine political reform, the only way to ensuring long term stability… We continue strongly to urge the Government of Bahrain to meet all its human rights obligations and uphold political freedoms, equal access to justice and the rule of law.”

Travel restrictions

London also changed the overall level of advice and lifted travel restrictions to Bahrain.

“We no longer advise against all but essential travel to Bahrain; there are now no travel restrictions in place in Bahrain,” the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said on Thursday.

Both the US and France had welcomed the recent developments in the island kingdom where four weeks of political turmoil gave way to a state of national safety, emergency laws, and the arrival of military forces from the Peninsula Shield, the military arm of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), upon a request from Bahrain under a Gulf mutual defence agreement, similar to Article V within Nato.

Bahrain officials on Wednesday said that the lifting of the emergency laws did not mean the departure of the Peninsula Shield forces, insisting that their presence was linked to the security situation in Bahrain.




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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