Obama urges Bahrain's king to show restraint

US president condemns violence, tells King Khalifa his country must respect the "universal rights" of its people, embrace "meaningful reform."

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 19, 2011 06:56
1 minute read.
US President Barack Obama

US President Barak Obama 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)

 
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WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama condemned the violence in Bahrain and urged the country's king in a phone call Friday night to show restraint after a series of bloody protests.

Obama discussed the situation with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, asking the king to hold those responsible for the violence accountable.

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Obama said Bahrain must respect the "universal rights" of its people and embrace "meaningful reform."

Security forces opened fire on Bahraini protesters for a second straight day, wounding at least 50 people as thousands defied the government and marched in an uprising that sought to break the political grip of the Gulf nation's leaders.

Earlier in the day, Obama cited reports of violence in response to protests in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen and called on the governments of those countries to show restraint.

Obama said the governments of the three countries should respect the rights of citizens demonstrating peacefully in the wake of Egypt's uprising. He expressed condolences to the families of those killed.

The president's statement was read aloud by White House press secretary Jay Carney to reporters traveling with the president on Air Force One from California to Oregon.

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