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Fri 8 Apr 2011 11:37 AM

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Crown Prince says Bahrain economy losses 'painful'

In a TV address to citizens, he says unrest has already caused losses of hundred of millions of dinars

Crown Prince says Bahrain economy losses 'painful'
Bahraini Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. (Getty Images)

Bahrain's Crown Prince said the kingdom's economy had seen "painful losses" of hundred of millions of dinars during the weeks of unrest.

Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa said on Bahraini television that the Gulf island kingdom was committed to reform but said the unrest had escalated to the point that security forces had to step in.

"We were immensely concerned that some of our youth were pushed towards a destructive path and that the nation was drawn along with them," he said.

"With our responsibility towards the people of Bahrain, we took necessary action to preserve lives and the livelihood and interests of all the people, based on our commitment to Islamic and Arab values."

He added that the problem had escalated "beyond all limits" where freedoms were misused and "overtaken by extremists and their agenda".

"They encouraged them to intimidate and terrorise people, sever livelihoods, block streets and raise slogans that provoked turning against everthing...In addition, we have seen painful losses for Bahrain’s economy reaching into the hundreds of millions already."

In March, Bahrain's Sunni rulers announced martial law, deployed security forces and called in troops from neighbouring Sunni-led Gulf Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, to break up pro-democracy protests led mostly by Shi'ites.

Since the crackdown, members of leading Shi'ite opposition group Wefaq and many Shi'ite residents have complained of dozens of disappearances at checkpoints.

They say hundreds of people, including politicians, activists and doctors sympathetic to protests, were arrested and several hundred workers, mostly Shi'ites, have been sacked.

In his speech, the crown prince said he would "not spare any effort in participating, as honoured and assigned by His Majesty the King, to the progress of reform".

"In this significant moment in the development of our country, I will continue, as you have always known me, to be firm on the principle that there can be no leniency with anyone who seeks to split our society into two halves," he added.

"The main challenge for which we must join our efforts for is to work for the continuation of the process of building , modernising and development in this country and a better future for all of us.

"We must reject violence, division and sectarianism and elevate the value of work, development and open, creative thinking. Bahrain’s progress and prosperity cannot be ruined by a few that wanted to make it fail."

American in Kuwait 8 years ago

Sorry but no credibility yet with this response.

David G. Lermit 8 years ago

"there can be no leniency with anyone who seeks to split our society into two halves," he added. "
Starting with his Dad and his Uncle? I think not.
The C.P. is falling in line with the official and strained schitzophrenic propaganda.
Alas Bahrain is now revealed for what it always was: an autocratic little client state of the House of Saud.
The events have demonstrated... and continue to demonstrate that the reforming C.P. has been sidelined in this sorry affair.
Business as usual: c. 1990's He's going to have a long wait.

Rod 8 years ago

The CP has offered talks for a whole month without preconditions. Instead, the "peaceful opposition" (read thugs) rejected all talks, and instead caused civil unrest and chaos. Would the White House allow "peaceful protesters" to sit on it's lawn for a month and then try to take over Wall Street? No country in the world would tolerate this behaviour for so long.

Instead, all these "peaceful protesters" have done is cancelled the F1 (and other) races, reduced hotel occupancies, killed tourism, encouraged banks, law firms and other businesses to relocate staff and even relocate the whole business to places like Dubai. End result? Even fewer jobs for "peaceful protesters" who were complaining about lack of jobs. Way to go.

These "peaceful protesters" (99.5% Shi'ite) don't even speak for a majority of the population or the whole of their community. 54% of Bahrain is expat and virtually all support the government. Of the remaining 46%, 40% of those are Sunni and the same applies there!

Expat in Bahrain 8 years ago

I totally agree with Rod, protesters refused to sit for dialogue for a whole month, they disrupted people daily life, blocked major roads and highways, and tried to destroy the economy in every way, it was not peaceful at all.

Red Snappa 8 years ago

To be honest I think that there is more trouble ahead in Bahrain ahead, once the world focus switches from Libya, Syria and Yemen and the US fleet weighs anchor. There is also Tunisia's membership of the EU still to consider

Bahrain does need a proper elected parliament with rulers in the background, otherwise human rights will continue to climb all over the place. Iran's got no real theatre at the moment so they will continue to stir up a feeling of insecurity, however, if a representative parliament was to come to pass in Bahrain they would have no political ammunition. It would also help the economy as in transparency.

Misha 8 years ago

"The major demand of the mainstream opposition is to turn the country into a constitutional monarchy, much like those in Europe. Other selected goals include: an elected government; a free press; an unrestricted civil society; and an end to discriminatory practises against religions other than the Sunni minority, such as unequal employment practises, unfair distribution of wealth, and the elimination of all forms of administrative and financial malpractice."

human 8 years ago

What are you trying to say? there are a lot of people who are simply poorer than poorness itself. what reform was about to happen? then what Islamic values you are talking about? Do you think we are all fool? or do you think that your father has already bought Youtube? it is clearer than ever that you and your ruling family members are just criminals, hatred criminals as well.

David G. Lermit 8 years ago

Rod I did reply to you but the site mods deleted it. Needless to say you are wrong. And a simple investigation of all your assertions easily refutes them. Including the rejection of talks. I repeat my final comment: your blanket assertion that the protest movement are "thugs" reveals your true motives. As this observer sees it the thugs are on the other side.

BAHARAINI 8 years ago

I really feel sorry for all those who call themselves oppositions actually they are called Iran Slaves who are trying to show the world that they are suffering in Bahrain. We are enjoying a lot of freedom in Bahrain and the most part who are benefiting from this is the oppositions who are religiously following IRAN and IRAQ. their demands are very clear they want to establish a country that follow Iran with Aiaat Al Faqieeh, and this is absolutely impossible as Bahrain is a Sunny country and not Shiee.

They have to understand this very clearly.

Bahrain Will Stay Arabic Sunny Country

Love Sunnis 8 years ago

Yes brother, we, the Sunni will lead our loving country Bahrain. We love Al Khalifa family and ready to die for Bahrain. Thanks for your beautiful comments.