Opposition lists key issues for Bahrain talks
Manama, July 3, 2011
Opposition group Al Wefaq National Islamic Society in Bahrain has submitted a list 40 reservations about the National Dialogue.
Former MP Khalil Al Marzooq headed a delegation of members attending the opening session.
It follows a U-turn by the society, which initially decided not to participate, but announced on Friday that it would join the process "for the sake of Bahrain".
Speaking after the opening ceremony, Al Marzooq said the society had reservations that needed to be answered. "We have submitted a list of 40 questions to Khalifa Dhahrani highlighting our concern about this entire process," he said.
"These questions are important and need to be addressed before any talks."
Al Marzooq said the society represented the majority of Bahrain's citizens and "cannot be sidelined in the National Dialogue".
A five-member panel including Mr Al Marzooq will take part in the talks include Syed Hadi Al Mousawi, Abduljalil Al Khalil, Bushra Al Hindi and detained former MP Jawad Fairooz, accused of publicly inciting hatred against the regime.
Al Hindi said her role would be to raise youth and women's issues.
Al Wefaq missed the June 26 deadline to submit their views ahead of the National Dialogue.
Dialogue spokesman Isa Abdul Rahman said he was still waiting for the society to submit its agenda.
"We are open to receive anyone who has been invited whether on the first day or the last," he said. "Most of the views we have received so far have issues that would be more or less similar to that of Al Wefaq."
Al Wefaq's participation in the dialogue and presence of its members at the opening session was welcomed by National Unity Assembly chairman Dr Abdullatif Mahmood Al Mahmood.
"I think this National Dialogue is a positive step for Bahrain and I am optimistic that Al Wefaq along with other groups participating," he said. "This is for the country and we should all participate to make it a success."
Also present from opposition groups were members from National Democratic Action Society (NDAS), headed by Dr Munira Fakhro.
Present were deputy secretary-general Radhi Al Mousawi and Fareeda Ghuloom, wife of detained society leader Ibrahim Sharif.
Sharif was last month jailed for five years by the Lower National Safety Court for being part of a plot to overthrow the regime and having links to a foreign terrorist organisation.
Abdulnabi Salman from Democratic Progressive Tribune and Moosa Al Ansari from Al Ekha National Society also attended the opening session.
Other opposition groups taking part in the dialogue are Democratic Progressive Tribune and National Democratic Assembly.
However, the dialogue has been snubbed by the Islamic Action Society and National Democratic Assemblage, whose key decision makers were detained for their alleged role in the unrest. – TradeArabia News Service