Bahrain National Dialogue session boycotted
Manama, September 5, 2013
A session of the Bahrain National Dialogue was cancelled yesterday (September 4) after a "no-show" by opposition societies, a report said.
Government, independent (National Assembly members) and the National Coalition representatives waited for two opposition members representing five political societies to turn up at the Isa Cultural Centre, but they never did, according to the report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The 25th session of the talks was expected to discuss suggestions put forward at last week's meeting by the five societies behind closed doors.
A statement issued by the three groups who were present said the opposition's decision to boycott last night's session only reflected its efforts to delay the dialogue process.
"Those societies have previously objected to the formation of any working teams as they refused to answer the initiative of holding counselling sessions between the parties to push the dialogue forward," the statement said.
"We call on the five societies to stop their futile attempts and be serious in responding to the topics on the agenda.
"We also request them to avoid repeating such alienating behaviour, which can be seen as having a lack of national responsibility."
However, the five societies issued a statement later, blaming their decision to boycott the session on the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowment Ministry's decision to restrict their meetings with diplomatic missions and officials from foreign organisations.
"It is difficult to sit for a dialogue when political work in this country is going backwards day after day," opposition spokesman Sayed Jameel Kadhim told the GDN.
"They want us to bow and accept whatever they want and for that, they will do anything. But they can't do that forever," he said.
"Dialogue is a serious issue, we take it seriously, but only when it is being shown the proper respect it deserves, can it be the only solution to get this country out of the tunnel it is in now.
"We have every right for diplomatic relations and having a Foreign Ministry representative means that a third party is spying on us and that's something we can't accept as it would be an invasion of our political privacy."
But the groups in attendance said that the excuses had nothing to do with the dialogue.
Kadhim said that the societies would be back in the full session next Wednesday. "We may take other action depending on the hurdles that are put on our way, but we are attending to show up next week." – TradeArabia News Service