Obama to Meet Bahrain Crown Prince at White House

Posted June 7th, 2011 at 9:05 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

U.S. President Barack Obama plans to meet the crown prince of Bahrain at the White House Tuesday.

Although the visit is not on Mr. Obama's official schedule, White House officials say the president will join an afternoon meeting between Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin al-Khalifa and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon.

The crown prince also will hold talks with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday.

The meetings follow the president's criticism of Bahrain's crackdown on anti-government protesters in March that left 24 people dead. Following the crackdown, the Sunni-ruled nation arrested hundreds of mostly Shi'ite protesters and put dozens on trial in special courts.

Bahrain's leaders also imposed an emergency law that was lifted on June 1, and invited troops from neighboring Sunni-led states to help quell the protests.

Mr. Obama has said the “mass arrests and brute force” used in the crackdown were at odds with the universal rights of Bahrain's citizens, and that the only way for Bahrain to move forward is through dialogue. Bahrain has insisted that it is open to dialogue and has denied reports of human rights abuses.

Bahrain is a key U.S. ally in the Persian Gulf and home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.