US President Barack Obama has spoken to King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain and condemned use of force against peaceful protesters in that country.
Mr. Obama’s telephone conversation with King Hamad came days after the government forces stormed a square in Bahrain’s capital Manama and forcibly removed protesters who were demanding political reform in the kingdom. The violence has so far taken four lives killed and injured many.
“The President reiterated his condemnation of the violence used against peaceful protesters, and strongly urged the government of Bahrain to show restraint, and to hold those responsible for the violence accountable,” the White House said in a statement.
“As a long-standing partner of Bahrain, the President said that the U.S. believes that the stability of Bahrain depends upon respect for the universal rights of the people of Bahrain, and a process of meaningful reform that is responsive to the aspirations of all Bahrainis,” the White House said.
Earlier in the day, Obama expressed concern over reports of violence in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen and condemned the use of violence by governments of these countries against peaceful protesters.
“I am deeply concerned by reports of violence in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen. The United States condemns the use of violence by governments against peaceful protesters in those countries and wherever else it may occur,” he said.
“We express our condolences to the family and friends of those who have been killed during the demonstrations. Wherever they are, people have certain universal rights including the right to peaceful assembly,” he said.
“The United States urges the governments of Bahrain, Libya and Yemen to show restraint in responding to peaceful protests, and to respect the rights of their people,” Mr. Obama said.
Meanwhile, Pentagon said there has been no disruption in U.S. military services in Bahrain, where the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based and over 4,200 personnel deployed.
“The protests are happening in an area away from the base. But they are exercising caution and advising service members and families to stay away from the areas of protests,” the Pentagon spokesperson, Col Dave Lapan, told reporters in an off camera briefing.
Mr. Lapan said at this point there is no plan to evacuate its personnel or families from its base in Manama, Bahrain, where Pentagon’s regional naval headquarters is based.
“I think what we want to focus on here is the President’s deep concern about the use of violence against peaceful protesters in Bahrain, Libya, and Yemen. We are expressing that message directly to the government of Bahrain. These are universal rights that need to be recognised. And as you can see, that position holds whether it’s Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, Egypt to all countries in the region,” the White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, told reporters.