King of Bahrain To Meet David Cameron Following Regime Crackdown

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Hundreds of mourners gather for the funeral of a protester in Bahrain in November
Hundreds of mourners gather for the funeral of a protester in Bahrain in November

The King of Bahrain has met with David Cameron, in an attempt to repair relations that soured following a brutal crackdown on an anti-regime protests in the Gulf state.

A report into the uprising commissioned by King Hamad Al-Khalifa found his administration had used torture, excessive force and fast-track justice in attempts to crush the movement.

The violence, in which at least 40 people died, had roots in conflict between Bahrain's ruling Sunnis and the Shia Muslim majority.

The report is perhaps the most in-depth report on security force actions during any of the revolts that have flared across the Arab world this year.

Following its highly critical conclusions, the King fired the head of national security and set up a human rights watchdog. Today's visit could be seen as a reward by Britain for Al-Khalifa's apparent willingness to reform.

However the King's moves to calm the situation in the wake of the crackdown appear unlikely to satisfy opposition leaders.

"What is really needed is to hold the perpetrators responsible and bring them to justice," said Khalil al-Marzooq, a senior official with the biggest Shiite opposition party told the Associated Press.

Relations between Britain and Bahrain were put under severe pressure during the revolt, with the UK's ambassador voicing public criticisms of the regime.

Bahrain is a historic ally of Britain and the West and is home to the American navy's Fifth Fleet.