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Foreign Office Minister encourages further reform in Bahrain

Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt has concluded a visit to Bahrain, where he met senior Bahraini Government officials.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Minister Burt met the Crown Prince, First Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Interior Minister and Minister for the Royal Court as well as representatives from Bahrain’s political parties and opposition groups. He also held roundtable discussions with members of civil society and the media.

Throughout his visit Minister Burt discussed the current situation and implementation of the reform agenda. He also raised plans for political dialogue, the security situation and specific human rights concerns. Minister Burt emphasised the importance of timely and full implementation of the agreed reforms and called on all parties to enter into an inclusive and constructive political dialogue to achieve sustainable stability for Bahrain.

Speaking after the visit, the Minister said:

“Bahrain remains a top priority for the UK Government. As a key partner and ally in the region, it is in our interests to support Bahrain on the road to long-term stability. Yesterday, I visited Bahrain and met with representatives from the Government, as well as opposition parties, to hear about progress in implementing political reform in the country. As a close friend of Bahrain, it is our role to support positive steps and to offer constructive help on what still needs to be done.

“While the Bahraini Government has made some good progress on the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), we are clear there is much more to do. Bringing about sustained, comprehensive reform will take time, but the government should build on the steps they have taken and ensure that BICI recommendations are implemented quickly and in full, including where they relate to human rights. We stand ready to assist Bahrain as it tackles the challenges ahead, including help with reform of the judicial system, promoting human rights training in the police and other government services, and reducing sectarian tension through reconciliation. As Bahrain moves forward, it is vital that all sides renounce violence unequivocally and engage in an inclusive process of political dialogue to deliver the safe and prosperous future that all the people of Bahrain want and deserve.”

Published 12 June 2012