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Obama Welcomes End Of Emergency Law In Bahrain

U.S. President Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama has met with the crown prince of Bahrain at the White House, and has welcomed the Gulf kingdom's decision to lift an emergency law.

In a written statement, the White House says Obama told Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa on June 7 that stability in Bahrain depends on respect for the universal rights of Bahraini citizens, including the right to free speech and peaceful assembly.

The statement said Obama urged that those responsible for human rights abuses during the recent Bahraini unrest be held accountable. Obama also reaffirmed what the statement described as the United States' "strong commitment" to Bahrain, where the headquarters of the U.S. naval Fifth Fleet is based.

During his visit to Washington, the Bahraini crown prince also met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and national security adviser Tom Donilon.

Bahraini authorities imposed emergency rule in mid-March, giving the military wide powers to suppress demonstrations led by the country's Shi'ite majority against the minority Sunni rulers.

Bahrain invited some 1,500 troops from a Saudi-led Gulf force to help suppress the unrest, and those forces have remained in Bahrain.