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Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa

Bahrain National Dialogue starts on Sunday

Manama, February 5, 2013

Bahrain's national multi-party political dialogue will start on Sunday, Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa announced.

This came as he met yesterday (February 4) heads and representatives of the six political societies - the National Brotherhood Society (Ekhaa), National Democratic Action Society (Waad), National Democratic Assembly Society (Al Qawmi), Unity Democratic Gathering Society (Wahdawy), Democratic Progressive Tribune (Al Taqadumy) and Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, said a report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.

The minister held a similar meeting with the heads and representatives of the coalition of national political societies.

These include National Action Charter Society, Al Menbar National Islamic Society, Al Asala Islamic Society, National Unity Assembly, Al Wasat Arab Islamic Society, National Constitutional Assembly, National Dialogue and Al Saf Islamic Society

The ministry has started sending invitations to concerned parties to attend the dialogue.

New optimism

Opposition groups have shown "encouraging" signs that they will do everything in their power to help end Bahrain's political stalemate, Shaikh Khalid said.

"From what I can say based on my meetings with political societies, I am optimistic and the messages from these societies are encouraging," he said during a Press conference at the ministry's headquarters in Diplomatic Area.

Shaikh Khalid made the comments following a meeting with members from the Coalition of Opposition Groups, headed by Al Wefaq National Islamic Society and the National Alliance of Political Societies, led by the National Unity Assembly (NUA).

"The political societies understand the call for the dialogue and have shown significant desire to be part of the process," he said.

"They have clearly agreed on certain principles such as rejection of all forms of violence. The aim here is to pave the way for dialogue and ensure its success."

Shaikh Khalid said Bahrain's "open door" policy to continue dialogue showed the government's seriousness in ending the political stalemate.

"We face a situation where consensus building is necessary," he said. "To solve differences we have a dialogue, which in this case is an internal affair, without any foreign intervention."

Shaikh Khalid said now was the right time for Bahrain to pick up from the first round of National Dialogue in July 2011.

He explained the four key participants included the government, legislative authority, members from coalition and members from the alliance representing its political societies.

"We will participate in all the discussions meant to reach a common ground that is vital for all parties," said Shaikh Khalid.

"There is no exclusion, but we cannot stop anyone from excluding themselves from the talks," said Shaikh Khalid, referring to the decision by the National Justice Movement (Al Adala) to distance themselves from the talks.

He concluded recommendations finalised during the talks will be implemented by legislation or constitutional amendments. "The ceiling for the talks is consensus," he said. – TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Bahrain | opposition | National Dialogue | Justice Ministry |

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