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Bahrain's Crown Prince details '' new phase of reform'' in Obama meeting
03 : 41 PM - 08/06/2011
Manama, June 8 (BNA) -- Bahrain’s Crown Prince, His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, met today with United States President Barack Obama, after which he released the following statement.

The Crown Prince said:

“I would like to thank President Obama for his insight today, his counsel and strong commitment of the United States to the Kingdom of Bahrain. President Obama’s support and understanding regarding Bahrain’s forthcoming National Dialogue were most welcome, as were his comments on the circumstances required to ensure its success.

“I fully share the President’s outlook concerning respect for universal rights and the continuance of Bahrain’s process of meaningful reform, which is a fundamental priority for the Kingdom.

“Reform is not a new concept to Bahrain and, as we have learnt, the process is not an easy one, especially in such a complex region. Nevertheless, Bahrain’s continued commitment to the programme of reform, initiated by King Hamad over a decade ago, remains steadfast.

“His Majesty has already made clear that a National Dialogue will start next month, that it will be serious and without pre-conditions. Most significantly, Bahrain’s leading political groups have both welcomed and are committed to joining this process; providing a critical indication, from all sides of the political spectrum, that Bahrain’s continued democratic development should be underpinned by stability and driven by consensus.

“This process will be far from easy and there are a great many challenges to overcome, not least of all meaningfully addressing the issues that have divided Bahrain’s communities and polarised society.

“Bahrain is a developing democracy and has many issues to carefully balance as it treads a sustainable path of progress. There is a very real danger in under-appreciating the challenges Bahrain faces and its progress in a regional context. There is no defined path to democratic reform, which, by its very nature, will mean whichever path is taken, it will always be imperfect to some. But as the arc of history for many a democracy has shown, the past, while often imperfect, provides a vital catalyst to shaping the future ahead.

“Bahrain is learning from this recent period, taking action to ensure issues are addressed and that the lessons of the recent past inform our future. Our direction of travel is being set and that direction is forwards, towards greater reform to the benefit of all.”
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