14 March 2011Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today noted with concern that troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) under the auspices of the Gulf Cooperation Council have reportedly entered Bahrain, where public protests against the king have led to growing violence. In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said he was troubled that the violence had left many people injured over the past few days, adding that the United Nations is in touch with all the Bahraini parties, including the Government and key opposition parties who have conveyed their concerns to the Secretary-General on the latest developments. “The Secretary-General strongly believes that peaceful means should be adopted to ensure national unity and stability,” the statement stressed. “He appeals to all concerned to exercise maximum restraint and to do everything possible to prevent the use of force and further violence. He also underscores the responsibility of all parties to act in strict accordance with international human rights and humanitarian law.”Mr. Ban reiterated his call on all national stakeholders to reach common ground without delay on a meaningful and broad-based national dialogue, and on Bahrain’s regional neighbours and the wider international community to support a dialogue process and an environment conducive for credible reform.“The United Nations continues to stand ready to provide support to nationally-led efforts, if requested to do so,” the statement concluded.Last month, Mr. Ban called for an immediate end to violence against peaceful protesters in Bahrain and said he would be contacting leaders in the Middle East and North Africa to urge them to institute bold reforms and not repression in the face of the popular demonstrations that have swept the region. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has also voiced alarm at what she called the excessive use of force by Bahraini authorities, including the killing of peaceful protesters, and urged respect for the right to demonstrate.