Bahrain crown prince still pro-reform but anti-split

Bahrain`s crown prince asserted his support for reform while warning attempts to divide the protest-hit Gulf kingdom would not be tolerated.

Updated: Apr 08, 2011, 18:13 PM IST

Manama: Bahrain`s crown prince asserted his
support for reform while warning attempts to divide the
protest-hit Gulf kingdom would not be tolerated, in a speech
published on Friday.

"I will not spare any effort... in advancing these
reforms," said Prince Salman, adding "there can be no leniency
with anyone who seeks to split our society into two halves."

Prince Salman was referring to a draft of comprehensive
reforms ordered by King Hamad in response to two months of
protests led by the Shiite majority against the ruling Sunni
Al-Khalifa dynasty.

The crown prince did not mention talks with the
opposition in his remarks although at the height of unrest he
said he was willing to meet with the powerful Shiite Wefaq
movement which was demanding a real constitutional monarchy
with a "government elected by the people."

In his speech, Prince Salman blasted those seeking to
stir sectarian divisions in Bahrain.

"I will continue to be firm on the principle that you
cannot be lenient towards those who seek to divide our society
into two camps," he said.

The opposition movement that erupted February 14 calling
for democratic reforms in Bahrain was curbed in a bloody
government crackdown on demonstrators’ mid-March.

Saudi-led forces entered Bahrain last month, sparking a
war of words between various Gulf Arab states and Iran, and
freeing up Bahraini security forces to crush the protests.

PTI