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Clinton calls intervention in Bahrain 'alarming'

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Clinton: Bahrain response 'alarming'
  • A clampdown is "no answer" to demands for reform, Clinton says
  • "There is no room for anyone to be pursuing their own agenda in Bahrain"
  • Troops from Saudi Arabia and the UAE moved into Bahrain on Monday

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- The United States finds intervention in Bahrain by the Persian Gulf kingdom's neighbors "alarming" and wants all players in the region to keep "their own agenda" out of the struggle between the monarchy and anti-government demonstrators, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday.

Washington has told the Bahraini monarchy that "there is no answer to the demands for political and economic reform though a security crackdown," Clinton told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

"We are urging in the strongest possible terms, both publicly and privately, that they immediately begin to negotiate with the opposition," Clinton said. "At the same time, we are telling the opposition,' you cannot use violence. You should return to the negotiating table. There is no positive outcome to this kind of standoff, and security alone is not the answer.' "

Troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates moved into Bahrain on Monday to "protect the safety of citizens," the Bahraini government said. The troops arrived under the banner of the Gulf Cooperation Council, an association of six Gulf Arab states.

Bahrain's King Hamad imposed a three-month state of emergency Tuesday and launched a crackdown on anti-government protesters Wednesday, according to witnesses in the capital, Manama. Bahraini officials deny these accounts.

At the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama called both Hamad and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah to express his "deep concern over violence" and the need for "maximum restraint," according to White House spokesman Jay Carney.

Bahrain has a Shiite Muslim majority population, but its rulers are Sunni Muslims. An underlying concern is that Iran, an overwhelmingly Shiite state, could seize the opportunity to meddle in Bahrain's internal affairs.

Clinton said, "There is no room for anyone to be pursuing their own agenda in Bahrain, no matter who it is.

"There are clearly other agendas are at work, but the only agenda that should matter is the future of the people of Bahrain," she said.