Senior U.S. diplomat visits Bahrain amid protests   2011-04-19 04:48:25 FeedbackPrintRSS

WASHINGTON, April 18 (Xinhua) -- A senior U.S. diplomat has traveled to Bahrain to meet with government officials and representatives from the civil society there, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Monday.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Jeff Feltman, who is in charge of Near Eastern affairs, visited Bahrain on Sunday and Monday, reaffirming the "long-standing commitment" of the United States to a "strong partnership" with Bahrain, Toner told reporters.

"Reiterating U.S. support for Bahraini national reconciliation and dialogue, he concurred with the Bahraini leadership's own embrace of the principles of reform and the respect for rule of law and coexistence," he said.

He said Feltman also discussed with Bahraini officials on regional developments, including U.S. concerns about "Iran's exploitation" of the situation in the region.

Toner said Feltman expressed U.S. appreciation for Bahrain's cooperation on the issue of Libya.

Bahrain, which hosts the headquarters of U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, has recently been swept by anti-government protests -- most by majority Shiite -- demanding more political and economic reforms.

Some of the protesters have called for bringing down the county 's ruling family led by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, a strong U. S. ally, and establishing a constitutional monarchy.

Editor: yan
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