New move to end Bahrain political stalemate
Manama, February 21, 2012
Bahraini authorities have reportedly approached some opposition societies in a bid to end the political stalemate in the kingdom, said a report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper.
Three political groups -- National Democratic Action Society (Wa'ad), Democratic Progressive Tribune (DPT) and National Democratic Assembly (NDA) -- were asked to submit a list of demands to pave the way for dialogue, the report said.
They reportedly met Royal Court Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa behind closed doors.
Present during the meeting were Wa'ad deputy-secretary general Radhi Al Mousawi, DPT secretary-general Hassan Madan and NDA deputy secretary-general Hassan Al A'ali.
"We did have a meeting with Shaikh Khalid after being invited along with two other political societies," said Al Mousawi. "During the meeting, we were asked to submit our demands which we are compiling and plan to submit in the coming days."
It is understood Al Wefaq National Islamic Society was sidelined during the meeting but its secretary-general Ali Salman earlier said it received an invitation for dialogue by the government, the report said.
"In a recent gathering in Miqsha, Mr Salman told supporters that Al Wefaq had received an invitation for dialogue," said Al Mousawi.
He added the meeting was positive and that the societies were ready for "real dialogue" with the government.
He said their demands are based on the implementation of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report, the seven points of an initiative led by the Crown Prince in March and the Manama Document endorsed by opposition societies last year.
His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander announced a blueprint for dialogue on March 13 and urged all parties to participate.
This included a parliament with full authority, government reflecting will of people, fair electoral constituencies, naturalisation, combating corruption, state properties and addressing sectarian tension.
However, the societies led by Al Wefaq refused to take part in unconditional talks. The Manama Document, endorsed by five opposition groups, also addressed similar demands.
His Majesty King Hamad last year instructed the executive and legislative branches to call for a dialogue to begin in July, in which all people could participate for a future vision.
The National Dialogue was held last July following directives from the King, who instructed the executive and legislative branches to call for the historic talks.
The event brought together nearly 300 participants from diverse backgrounds, where they agreed on 291 visions classified according to the four main themes - political, social, economic and rights.
Al Wefaq initially participated in the dialogue but pulled out, saying the process was not credible and called it a monologue forum. Government officials could not be reached yesterday.
In a statement last night, Al Wefaq National Islamic Society confirmed that it had indeed been invited by the government to submit its views.
"The Manama Document is our vision for the solution and any results of a dialogue should come through a public referendum," it said.
The society, however, stressed that no dialogue had started yet adding that it had presented its demands to the government as stated in the Manama Document to resolve the current crisis. - TradeArabia News Service