US Defence Secretary makes surprise visit to Bahrain

Robert Gates made his unannounced visit amid continuing demonstrations demanding democracy in Bahrain
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US Defense Secretary Robert Gates (C) and Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa (2nd R) arrive for a meeting with Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa at Sakhir Palace on March 12, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. (Getty Images)
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US Defense Secretary Robert Gates (R) is greeted by Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa upon his arrival for a meeting at Al-Zahar Palace in Manama on March 12, 2011 during his unannounced stop to Bahrain after wrapping up NATO meetings in Brussels. (AFP/Getty Images)
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US Defense Secretary Robert Gates (L) meets with Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa at Sakhir Palace on March 12, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Gates made his unannounced visit amid continuing demonstrations from protesters demanding democracy for the Persian Gulf nation, as he sought to encourage open dialogue between the kingdom's rulers and the opposition movement. (Getty Images)
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US Defense Secretary Robert Gates (C-L) meets with Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa (C-R) at Al-Zahar Palace on March 12, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. (Getty Images)
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US Defense Secretary Robert Gates (L) is greeted by Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa before a meeting at Sakhir Palace on March 12, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. (Getty Images)