Bahrain's Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa left for France on Friday, May 3, for talks on the situation in the Gulf, the Middle East peace process and ways of improving bilateral ties, the Gulf News agency said on Thursday.
Sheikh Hamad said last month he would tour Europe and the United States to seek investment for his island state after launching wide-ranging political reforms.
He said Bahrain, the Gulf's financial and banking hub, and other oil-rich Gulf Arab countries, had created an environment suitable for foreign investment.
Sheikh Hamad, who took power in March 1999 on the death of his father, has pardoned political detainees and exiles, abolished controversial emergency laws and proposed a national charter that calls for an elected parliament.
Bahrain dissolved its first elected parliament in 1975, two years after it was set up. The move led to unrest by members of the majority Shi'ite Moslem community demanding political and economic reforms. — (Reuters, Manama)
© Reuters 2001
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