Ban welcomes national political dialogue in Bahrain
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Thursday welcomed the initiative by the king of Bahrain to convene a national political dialogue, as well as the positive response to the proposal from opposition groups in the Persian Gulf nation.
"This initiative is an important first step towards reforms that ensure justice and human rights for all Bahrainis," Ban's spokesperson said in a statement on the endeavour begun by King Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa.
Bahrain has experienced civil unrest, including clashes between security forces and demonstrators since early 2011, when widespread protests first emerged in the country.
"The Secretary-General has consistently called for dialogue and hopes that the parties will follow through on their announcements and ensure that the dialogue is well-prepared, meaningful, fully inclusive, and addresses the legitimate aspirations of the Bahraini people," his spokesperson said in Thursday's statement
"He expects that all communities will be represented fairly and freely and calls on all Bahrainis to contribute to creating a conducive atmosphere for a successful dialogue," he added.