US condemns ally Bahrain

US President Barack Obama has told Bahrain's King that he condemns violence by government forces after another day of severe clashes in the capital of the US ally.

US President Barack Obama Friday spoke to Bahrain's King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa and condemned violence by government forces against protesters which has killed four people and wounded 200 more.

Obama also warned in the call that the United States believed the stability of the Western-leaning Gulf kingdom - which houses the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet - depended on a process of meaningful political reform, AFP reported.

In the latest confrontations, security forces opened fire on protesters, wounding up to 55.

"President Obama spoke with King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain this evening to discuss the ongoing situation in Bahrain," a White House statement said.

The US leader "reiterated his condemnation of the violence used against peaceful protesters, and strongly urged the government of Bahrain to show restraint, and to hold those responsible for the violence accountable," the statement said.

"As a long-standing partner of Bahrain, the president said that the United States believes that the stability of Bahrain depends upon respect for the universal rights of the people of Bahrain, and a process of meaningful reform that is responsive to the aspirations of all Bahrainis."

Obama's telephone conversation with the king came after several days of bloodshed in Bahrain after government forces stormed a square in the capital Manama and ejected protestors demanding political reform.

Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa promised to open a national dialogue once calm returns, and soon after King Hamad formally announced that he had assigned him to start those discussions.

The BBC reported that the prince has been authorised to 'talk to all parties' after the prince expressed regret for the 'painful days.'

IN DEPTH: Arab unrest

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