British PM tells Bahrain king: reform, not repression

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British Prime Minister David Cameron has personally urged the king of Bahrain to respond to anti-regime protests with "reform, not repression", his spokesman said Wednesday.

Cameron spoke by phone to King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa late Tuesday to express his concern at the escalating stand-off between security forces and opposition supporters.

The spokesman told reporters: "The prime minister spoke to the King of Bahrain last night and expressed his serious concern at the deteriorating situation on the ground.

"He called for restraint from all sides and said it was vital that the Bahrain authorities responded through reform, not repression.

"The prime minister encouraged the king to pursue the political dialogue that the government had proposed and he called on all sides to take part in that dialogue."

The situation in Bahrain worsened Wednesday when the opposition accused the kingdom's Sunni authorities of killing three protesters in a violent raid on a peaceful pro-democracy camp that sparked Shiite outrage across the region.

© 2011 AFP

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