Bahrain's king arrives in Riyadh for talks

08:17, February 24, 2011      

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Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al- Khalifa arrived in the Saudi capital on Wednesday for talks with King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, the website of the Saudi English newspaper Arab News reported. The visit coincides with the return of King Abdullah to Riyadh after a three-month absence for medical treatment. The tiny Gulf nation witnessed a mounting wave of protests since Feb. 14, inspired by the recent uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt which forced their leaders to step down.

Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, is ruled by the Sunni Muslim al-Khalifa family where the majority Shiite population said they are facing discrimination in jobs and other services.

Protesters, most of them Shiites, are pressing for political reforms, including the release of political prisoners and the sack of the incumbent prime minister.

They call for more economic reforms and new jobs.

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia, ruled by a Sunni monarchy and home to a small Shiite community, has been anxiously watching the developments in its neighboring country.

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