Bahrain Crown Prince speaks with US Defense Secretary

Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa discussed by phone on Monday with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper the importance of maintaining regional security and stability, state news agency BNA reported.

Their conversation followed the killing of a top Iranian military commander, Qassem Soleimani, in a U.S. drone strike on Friday at Baghdad airport that has sparked a major escalation of regional tensions.

Bahrain, headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, has a Shi’ite Muslim majority population but is ruled by a Sunni royal family. It has accused mainly Shi’ite Iran of stoking unrest in the kingdom, which Tehran denies.

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