MANAMA, March 18 Bahrain remains committed to
dialogue with the opposition but restoring security is a
priority and more Gulf troops will arrive on the island to
support its forces, the foreign minister said on Friday.
Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa said three or four Gulf
states were sending troops and the forces would remain in the
Sunni-ruled kingdom for as long as it takes to restore order.
Their role would be limited to guarding strategic assets
such as oil facilities, however, and they would not be involving
in quelling protests, he told a news conference in Manama.
"We look with all confidence to the return of normal life in
Bahrain," Sheikh Khaled said. "We know dialogue is our path."
Sheikh Khaled also rejected criticism from U.S. Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton, who said the Gulf intervention was a step
on the "wrong track", saying that Bahrain, home to the U.S.
Fifth Fleet, looked forward to clarifying the situation to its
He also dismissed suggestions that Saudi Arabia had
pressured its tiny neighbour into allowing the intervention of
outside troops, saying the issue had been discussed with the
Gulf Cooperation Council in several talks.
(Reporting by Erika Solomon and Lin Noueihed; Editing by Jon