New bid to end Bahrain talks deadlock
Manama, January 16, 2014
Bahrain's Crown Prince and First Deputy Premier met the kingdom's top opposition leader yesterday in search of a way out of a three-year political deadlock, a week after reconciliation talks were suspended.
The meeting between His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Sheikh Ali Salman was the first since shortly after major unrest demanding democratic reforms and a bigger say in government broke out in early 2011.
The Crown Prince also met leaders and representatives of other political societies and independent MPs.
The Crown Prince discussed ways to overcome obstacles to dialogue. He highlighted the need for renewed urgency in the process, stressing the importance of senior representation from all sides, said a report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper.
He also emphasised the importance of an improved and open political environment that can clearly and positively address national priorities shared by all Bahrainis, as well as accounting for concerns held by different communities, it said.
"Over a decade ago His Majesty recognised the importance of a process of inclusive political development," said the Crown Prince.
"We remain firmly committed to stable political development, one that is representative of all sides and thereby acts definitively in the national interest."
All parties agreed on a new phase of dialogue to reconcile the various points of view based on commitment to national responsibility, transparency, integrity and the nation's best interests, said an official government spokesperson late last night.
They also agreed to raise the level of governmental and other parties' representation in the dialogue which would tackle the following issues during the next stage: legislative, judicial and executive authorities, electoral constituencies and security for all. The Royal Court will arrange meetings with each dialogue participant from next week.
"The meeting was especially frank and very transparent," the Shi'ite opposition bloc Al Wefaq said in a statement signed by the five main parties in it.
Al Wefaq said the meeting was held on the crown prince's initiative to "study ways (to have) a serious dialogue that would result in a new political framework that shapes a comprehensive solution".
Crown Prince Salman, who was named first deputy prime minister last year, had pushed for the reconciliation talks and is seen to be spearheading a more reformist line within the Bahraini ruling family. - TradeArabia News Service and Reuters