The violence and politics of the street are incapable of producing long-lasting solutions to the problems in Bahrain. The answers will be found as we face each other and tell the truth. The headline of your Feb. 20 editorial read, “Bahrain must offer more than talk.” We agree 100 percent. But everything must start somewhere, and now that the political opposition has returned to the dialogue after a long boycott, we are engaging in a necessary conversation and finally have a new beginning.
During the past two years, the government of Bahrain has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to engage in inclusive dialogue with the full range of Bahraini political actors. Doing so offers the opportunity to forge a consensus on a path to a more representative, secure, and prosperous Bahrain.
Bahrain has also enacted significant human rights reform in conjunction with recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. Some of these steps include the work of the special prosecution unit, its prosecution of police officers accused of mistreating protesters, the establishment of a new police code of conduct, and the creation of a transparent prisoner management system.
Bahrain and the United States have shared a close partnership for more than 60 years. As is the case with America, the evolution of reform and democracy in Bahrain will continue as long as we are willing to talk face to face, and to support good ideas regardless of who proposes them.