British envoy urges Bahrain talks to end unrest

AP News
Posted: Jun 11, 2012 1:18 PM
British envoy urges Bahrain talks to end unrest

Britain's chief envoy for the Middle East says his country supports attempts at dialogue in Bahrain between the Sunni monarchy and the Gulf nation's Shiite majority, which has been waging an uprising over demands for a greater political voice.

The Foreign Office official, Alistair Burt, urged talks without conditions. He appealed to both sides to end violence after 16 months of sporadic clashes.

Bahrain has strategic significance as an occasional hub for Western warplanes and the headquarters for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

American officials also have called for efforts to renew dialogue in Bahrain, but no breakthroughs have been achieved. More than 50 people have died in Bahrain's unrest since February 2011.

Burt was in Bahrain on Monday as part of a Mideast tour.