Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement today on the third anniversary of protests in Bahrain calling on the Bahraini government and opposition to engage in dialogue and compromise:
“Today, I join thousands of Bahraini citizens in commemorating the third anniversary of the peaceful protests which began on February 14, 2011. On that day and those that followed, hundreds of thousands of Bahrainis took to the streets to demand a more transparent and representative government in their homeland, and were met with brutal force and repression.
“Three years later, I am hopeful for Crown Prince Salman’s initiative to revive the stalled National Dialogue, and continue to call on the Bahraini government to fully implement all 26 of the recommendations contained in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry’s report. The government’s reluctance to implement reform and seriously engage with the opposition has helped create a dangerous situation which has the potential to be exploited by more radical Shia groups and actors, such as Iran, who only seek to foster instability and violent opposition to the government.
“Opposition leaders should reaffirm their unambiguous rejection of the use of violence, and seize this opportunity to engage the government in a serious effort to reach a lasting agreement first by agreeing on a road map and establishing clear objectives for a renewed National Dialogue.
“I urge the government of Bahrain to demonstrate the leadership necessary to create the conditions for a serious and constructive dialogue. Only genuine compromise by all sides can satisfy the Bahraini people’s desire for greater representation in their government’s affairs. A path of genuine reconciliation and reform is the best route to a stable future for all citizens of Bahrain.”