Bahrein: King, continue with reforms and forget the past

20 March, 18:11

    (ANSAmed) - DUBAI, MARCH 20 - In a speech delivered today, the King of Bahrain, Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, called for progress to be made in drafting and implementing a reform programme. The King called on all sides of society to take on their ''individual responsibilities and to move beyond the events of last year''. ''We shall renew our determination to pursue reforms and to satisfy the aspirations of the people, without making any exceptions, and without privileging the interests of one community above those of another,'' the Sunni sovereign ruling the Shiite-majority island state said. ''The government, but the citizens too, political movements and civil associations have to play an active role in promoting and enacting democratic practices,''. The King urged his listeners to ''learn from the lessons of past events, from experience, and look to the future with confidence and optimism''. The speech came on the handing over of a report by the independent commission of inquiry into enactment of the recommendations made following investigations into the brutal suppression of popular demonstrations in February-March last year. A first report, indicating excessive use of force, also contained recommendations for attaining national reconciliation.

    ''The doors for dialogue remain open,'' the king promised, in an echo of a similar readiness expressed by the Shiite opposition yesterday. They, however, are pressing for a constitutional monarchy. (ANSAmed).

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