Wefaq can rejoin talks says Dialogue official
Manama, July 18, 2011
Bahrain’s National Dialogue spokesperson today regretted the reported decision by leading opposition group Al Wefaq to withdraw from the dialogue, but said the group could return to talks if it chose to.
“We regret the decision, by any participant, to withdraw from Bahrain’s Dialogue. The process provides an important platform for participants to promote the views and interests of the people they represent," said Isa Abdul Rahman.
“We strongly encourage all participants remain fully engaged in the Dialogue process. We call on delegates to set aside their differences, and make every effort to move forward," he said.
The kingdom launched a national dialogue on July 2 to discuss reforms and address grievances.
“We consider Al Wefaq’s contribution to the dialogue as central to its success thus far. It is sometimes harder to stay and help shape the solution than to walk away. Now is the moment to heal divides and unite behind a shared vision of Bahrain’s future,” said Abdul Rahman.
He underlined that should any participant choose to exclude themselves from the process, the door will remain open for them to return to the talks.
“Regardless of any participant’s decision to leave the Dialogue will continue. This is a time to be engaged, open, creative and to demonstrate willingness to take bold decisions,” he said.
The Dialogue has not received a formal notification of Al Wefaq’s decision to withdraw, however they have criticised aspects of the National Dialogue.
In response to criticism of the dialogue’s mechanism, Abdul Rahman said: “The talks adhere to internationally recognised standards for achieving consensus. All participants signed up to these procedures at the outset of the Dialogue.”
“In order to ensure a full airing of the issues, each of the parties were given ample opportunity to raise any matter it considers relevant,” he said.
In response to criticism of the number of participants: “The inclusive approach adopted seeks to enrich the dialogue and reflect the aspirations of our society. Al Wefaq represents a sizable portion of our population but we have a duty of responsibility to ensure that all voices are heard and that the loudest speaker does not drown out the quieter voices.” - TradeArabia News Service