Sectarian divide has created a schism in our society that is a major challenge. As monarch of all Bahrainis, it pains me to see many harmed by the actions of a few. And yet I am optimistic and have faith in our people. We all realize that now is the time to strike a balance between stability and gradual reform.
The Bahraini people are eager to obtain facts to enable them to shape a comprehensive national opinion without division among its people. We confirm to all journalists and media personnel in the kingdom of Bahrain that their freedom is preserved and their rights are safeguarded.
Bahrainis are better off than many other Arabs. We have a welfare state, everybody gets a salary whether they have a job or not. Electricity and food are subsidized; school and healthcare are free. And we don't differentiate between Bahrainis and foreigners. We are very proud of that.
We are a constitutional monarchy. I don't order laws, I propose them. Article 35 of our constitution states that the king can only refuse a law of parliament once, then he has to sign it - if the same law is then supported by a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament.
We invite American companies looking to raise capital to list on the Bahrain Stock Exchange. The region has a liquidity oversupply approximating $1 trillion and this pool of capital can be tapped into by creative American companies. The next Facebook may very well get funded on the BSE.
Bahrain lies at the epicenter of Gulf security and any violent upheaval in Bahrain would have enormous geopolitical consequences. Global economic stability depends on the uninterrupted export of crude oil from the Gulf to markets around the world - a job that historically has been assigned to the U.S. Fifth Fleet.
Reform is the mission from which we shall not digress; it is an expression of belief and determination between us and our people. With the help of Allah, we will proceed forward in this promising national process within the natural progress of the life cycle and the development of people and nation.