Troubled Bahrain declines royal wedding invite

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The Crown Prince of Bahrain on Sunday announced he has declined an invitation to attend Britain's royal wedding because of ongoing unrest in the Gulf kingdom.

Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa said he had delayed sending his regrets, hoping for the situation in Bahrain to improve before Prince William and Kate Middleton marry on April 29, his office said in a statement.

He said the British media had "misrepresented" his stance and "clearly sought to involve my potential attendance as a political proxy for wider matters involving Bahrain."

Media reports had speculated that Crown Prince Salman would withdraw to avoid embarrassment after a bloody crackdown on mainly Shiite Muslim protesters in Sunni-ruled Bahrain left at least 24 people dead.

Security forces crushed the protests on March 16, two days after a joint armoured contingent from its Sunni Gulf neighbours rolled in across a causeway linking the archipelago state to Saudi Arabia.

Shiite Iran has condemned the Saudi-led intervention, while Bahrain has accused the Islamic republic of meddling in its affairs and supporting the unrest.

© 2011 AFP

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