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Ban urges parties in Bahrain to begin dialogue on reform and Reconciliation

By United Nations
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Voicing his concern at the apparent impasse in launching a national dialogue in Bahrain, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on all parties to work together to address political reforms and advance reconciliation. A few weeks ago King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa asked Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa to initiate a national dialogue after demonstrators took to the streets demanding reforms in the small Gulf nation.

“The Secretary-General calls on all parties in Bahrain to seize the moment and engage in a broad-based, peaceful and meaningful dialogue involving the political opposition and civil society in the interest of all Bahraini people,” his spokesperson said in a statement.

Mr. Ban called on Bahrain's regional neighbours and the wider international community to support a dialogue process and an environment conducive for credible reforms in the country.

He also reiterated the readiness of the United Nations to provide support to nationally-led efforts, if requested to do so.

Earlier this year the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt were ousted by popular protests and similar largely peaceful demonstrations have erupted against the long-term leaders of half a dozen other countries in North Africa and the Middle East. Mr. Ban has repeatedly stressed the need for regional rulers to listen attentively to their people and respond to their legitimate aspirations.