UN's Ban calls for 'genuine' dialogue in Bahrain
United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon welcomed Bahrain's move to begin a national dialogue aimed at advancing reforms, saying it can help in the country's reconciliation if it is genuine and inclusive.
"We welcome the opening of a national dialogue in Bahrain. Conducted properly, it can be a force for stability, national healing and change," he said.
"That dialogue must be genuine, fully inclusive and ... must set a stage for real reforms that meet the legitimate aspirations of the Bahrain people," the UN secretary-general added.
Bahrain on Tuesday held the first session of its national dialogue, which came after national security forces carried out a bloody mid-March crackdown on Shiite-led protesters who had been demonstrating for reforms in the Sunni-ruled, Shiite-majority kingdom since February 14.
Authorities said 24 people, most of them demonstrators, were killed in the unrest.
© 2011 AFP