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TWO GROUPS RELENT

Societies to rejoin Bahrain Dialogue

Manama, February 24, 2013

Representatives of two political societies that pulled out of the dialogue last week have made a complete U-turn and will rejoin today's talks, our sister newspaper, the Gulf Daily News reported.

Al Menbar Islamic Society and Al Saaf Islamic Society froze their participation in the National Consensus Dialogue amidst increasing street violence, but said they would continue in a bid to shape the country's political future after a two-year stalemate.

Political figures, ministers, MPs and Shura Council members will meet today for the fourth meeting of the talks at Al Areen Resort and Spa in Sakhir.

A coalition of five opposition groups, led by Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, are taking part in the talks, along with the National Alliance of Political Societies - a majority Sunni Islamists formed to offset the opposition during the dialogue - which is headed by the National Unity Assembly (NUA).

"We have decided to resume our participation in the talks," said Al Saaf Islamic Society assistant general-secretary Dr Yousef Mashal.

"Previously our society's secretary-general Abdulla Bu Ghammar participated in the talks, while in today's session the head of the political affairs Ahmed Muthana will be representing the society."

"To show our stand against the street violence, our board decided that the society's secretary-general will not attend two sessions."

Both societies pulled out of the talks because of the escalation in street violence, and blamed opposition groups for fanning protests at a critical time when all sides were actively participating in the Dialogue.

"We have reduced the level of participation this time," added Dr Mashal.

"Violence on the streets should stop as it is not right when all political societies are engaging in talks."

Dr Mashal added it was crucial for all participants to condemn violence.

An alliance spokesman said they were informed Al Menbar would take part in the talks.

However, a message on the society's withdrawal was still up on its official website yesterday.

During the previous session, opposition groups refused to endorse a document condemning ongoing street violence. The anti-violence declaration was submitted by the alliance.

Dialogue spokesman Isa Abdulrahman said it was agreed that external statements were not part of the talks and that participants may issue statements, on behalf of their own organisations, outside the dialogue. Today's session will focus on finalising the agenda. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Manama | National Dialogue |

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