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U.S. Says Concerned By Bahrain Detentions, Urges Dialogue

The United States says tensions in Bahrain are very high ahead of a planned national dialogue after weeks of pro-democracy protests and urged the authorities to encourage people to speak out.

Visiting the Bahraini capital, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner said Washington remained concerned about the detention of Bahrainis without charge and reports of torture during interrogations.

He voiced support for the dialogue proposed by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa but called for transparency during the forthcoming trials of dozens of people charged with illegal activities during this year's protests.

Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Navy's regionally strategic Fifth Fleet, quashed weeks of protests in March.

It called in troops from neighboring Gulf Arab countries and imposed emergency law, which it lifted just last week.

compiled from Reuters reports