Bahrain to pursue dialogue, receive more troops

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Bahrain to pursue dialogue, receive more troops

Bahrain remains committed to dialogue with the opposition but restoring security is a priority and more Gulf troops will arrive on the island to support its forces.

By (Agencies)

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Published: Sat 19 Mar 2011, 12:29 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:24 AM

Foreign ministerShaikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said on Friday that three or four Gulf states were sending troops and the forces would remain in the kingdom for as long as it takes to restore order.

Their role would be limited to guarding strategic assets such as oil facilities, however, and they would not be involving in quelling protests, he told a news conference in Manama. “We look with all confidence to the return of normal life in Bahrain,” Shaikh Khaled said. “We know dialogue is our path.”

Shaikh Khaled also rejected criticism from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said the Gulf intervention was a step on the “wrong track”, saying that Bahrain, home to the US Fifth Fleet, looked forward to clarifying the situation to its ally. He also dismissed suggestions that Saudi Arabia had pressured its neighbour into allowing the intervention of outside troops, saying the issue had been discussed with the Gulf Cooperation Council in several talks.

Meanwhile, Bahrain tore down on Friday the sculpture at the centre of Pearl Square, focal point and symbol of weeks of pro-democracy protests in the kingdom.

Drills and diggers cut away at the six bases of the structure for hours, until it collapsed into a mound of rubble and steel bars. The structure of six dhow sails holding up a pearl was erected in the early 1980s to mark a summit of formation of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Each of the six sails represents one of the members of the GCC. The pearl represents the joint heritage of the Gulf countries, whose economies were based on pearl fishing before the discovery of oil. Mainly protesters had taken over the grass-covered roundabout during protests, setting up a tent city where free food was handed out and political speeches and rallies were held into the night.

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