WASHINGTON, March 23 (UPI) -- There must be an end to the violence in Bahrain as there is no security solution to the country's political crisis, the U.S. State Department said.
Bahrain King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa declared a three-month state of emergency last week amid a political crisis pitting the ruling Sunni minority against the Shiite majority.
Scores of people were killed in clashes last week and troops from the Gulf Cooperation Council deployed to Bahrain to help quell the unrest.
The official Bahrain News Agency quoted Hamad as saying GCC forces helped deter a foreign plot to bring down the ruling monarchy. He didn't state which country was behind the unrest, though Shiite leaders in Iran are incensed over the political crisis in Bahrain.
Bahrain, a key U.S. ally in the region, is host to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. Mark Toner, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said Washington felt there needs to be a credible and inclusive political dialogue in Bahrain.
"(W)hat we were clear about is that there is no security solution to the situation in Bahrain," he said."What we've said about Bahrain is that there needs to be a credible political process that addresses the aspirations of the Bahraini people."
He added that while Iran had a reputation of meddling in regional affairs, Washington had "no evidence" to suggest Iran was involved somehow in the Shiite uprising in Bahrain.