Washington (Agencies): A high-level US official urged Bahrain's crown prince to respect human rights and launch "meaningful" reform after mass protests, the White House said.

US National Security Adviser Tom Donilon had a telephonic talk with Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa a day after President Barack Obama reviled a crack down on anti-regime protests said to have left at least 84 people dead.

"Donilon reiterated the President's condemnation of violence used against peaceful protesters, and expressed support for the steps that the crown prince has ordered taken to show restraint and initiate dialogue," the statement stated.

In an appeasing move, police and troops earlier withdrew from Manama's Pearl Square, the focal point of the demonstrations.

The crown prince later directed the security forces to stay away and asked the "crowds to leave" to start a "new phase of national action that would bring together all parties," according to the BNA state news agency.

The pro-Western and strategically vital Gulf kingdom has faced escalating pressure to talk to the Shiite-led opposition, which demands that the government resign before talks offered by the king can begin.

"As a long-standing partner of Bahrain, 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," the White House remarked.

During a previous call to King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa, Obama said the country's stability "depends upon respect for the universal rights of the people of Bahrain," according to another White House statement.

The tiny Gulf partner, which has Sunni rulers governing over a restive Shiite majority near Shiite but non-Arab Iran, also houses the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet.

It is adjacent to an oil-producing province in Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia where Shiites have also complained of unfair leadership.

In a separate telephone call to the crown prince on Saturday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he had expressed "the UK's deep concern about the situation and strong disapproval of the use of live ammunition against protesters".