Bahrain says time ripe for political reforms

Oct. 3, 2013 at 10:10 AM
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MANAMA, Bahrain, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The situation in Bahrain is such that most national issues can be resolved without resorting to acts of violence, the interior minister said Thursday.

Dozens of protesters were killed during clashes with security forces during an uprising against the Sunni-led monarchy in Bahrain in 2011. The government said it is committed to a reform agenda outlined by an independent commission probing its response to the unrest.

Lt. Gen. Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa, Bahrain's interior minister, said there is "political breathing space" in the country.

"The situation is sufficient for people to avoid resorting to violence in order to express their demands," he was quoted by the official Bahrain News Agency as saying.

Bahrain has been accused of misleading the international community about political conflicts in the Persian Gulf country. The British government has issued a steady stream of travel advisories warning of the possibility for unrest. Bahrain said it's been the target of a smear campaign.

Bahrain Minister of Foreign Affairs Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Khalifa addressed the 68th session of the U.N. General Assembly last week. He said the country has a long history of transparent and open dialogue with its citizens. Cooperation "not confrontation" could settle many internal issues, he said.

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