US Secretary of State Colin Powell said the US push for political and economic reform in the Middle East is "an effort to engage the region," rather than an effort to impose reforms on the region.
"[T]here are nations in the region that are making very important decisions and steps with respect to democracy, with respect to the protection of human rights, with respect to economic development," said Powell, singling out Bahrain as "a good example of one of these nations."
Powell was speaking to reporters with Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, following their February 9 meeting at the State Department in Washington.
Powell said the two men discussed the first round of talks focused on a free trade agreement between the two countries.
Prince Salman said the reform process supports the general principles of democracy, rule of law and adherence to a free market or capitalist economy, all of which, he said, need to be encouraged in the region. The prince added, "each country needs to define how it wants to move and when it wants to move on these issues."
"In the Kingdom of Bahrain, we have been committed to these three principles for many years now, and we have worked very hard to see them implemented and developed continuously to reflect the need that the region has for those things," said Prince Salman. — (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )