Clinton urges the reconciliation process to “go forward”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered the keynote address Monday on opening day of the inaugural Women in Public Service Institute at Wellesley College.
During the question-and-answer session following her remarks, Clinton was asked by a guest to assess the situation in Bahrain for women and the situation in Bahrain as a whole.
Clinton responded, “Well, I’m hoping that the civil unrest and the instability that has taken place in Bahrain over the last year can be resolved through a national process of reconciliation, dialogue and reform. I think Bahrain is a very important symbol of whether people who come from the two great traditions of Islam are able to find common ground and work together.
“And I have had numerous conversations with the leaders of Bahrain, and I’ve also reached out to opposition members through the State Department because we think this should be resolved internally, with no external influence or agitation.
“If you look at the map, as many of you already have, and you know where Bahrain — which is a very small country — is located, it is located between Iran and Saudi Arabia. And we know that there is a great rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia. And Bahrain is, you know, a country with both Sunni and Shia Muslims, and it’s a country that has been blessed by natural resources, so there’s been a certain financial base for Bahrain. The United States has a military base in Bahrain, and we work closely on security in the Gulf with Bahrain.
“But we think that as in any country, including my own, you have to be constantly asking yourself, how can we solve problems, how can we get ahead of problems, how can we bring people together? And we have been urging that there be a process like this in Bahrain, where people of good faith — now I will be the first to say that in any political struggle, in any conflict, there are people on both sides or all sides who do not want to compromise, who are extreme, who believe that only their way is the right way.
“But most people are not in those categories.
“And so you have to bring together people who are willing to talk with those they do not agree with to try to find solutions that will benefit all the people. And I know that His Majesty the King and the crown prince and others have been working on that, and we are urging that that process go forward.” [HHS]