'Parallel' dialogue to end Bahrain's crisis soon
Manama, February 23, 2014
A group of political societies will begin a series of talks next month aimed at finding solutions to Bahrain's political crisis.
The slow progress of the government's National Dialogue initiative prompted them to launch their own public debate, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The "parallel dialogue", instigated by the National Liberal Thought Society, was announced last December and has reportedly received a good response from Bahrain's intellectual community.
It will feature female activists, businessmen, non-government organisations, legislators and members of political societies.
"We are receiving an overwhelming response, especially from the business community who are keen to air their views and be part of our public dialogue," said society secretary-general Layla Rajab.
"There were several activities happening in Bahrain since the start of the year which forced us to delay the session."
The first session has been scheduled for March 10, although organisers are still looking for a suitable location.
Rajab said talks would take place monthly and provide a popular platform for citizens, especially businessmen and scholars, to discuss their views.
"We have close to 30 businessmen who have expressed interest to be part of our talks," she added.
"This parallel dialogue is open for all citizens who have something important to say rather than wasting time."
Proposals agreed during the parallel talks will be submitted to top government officials.
Bahrain's National Dialogue was suspended on January 8 after the Sunni contingent pulled out of the talks over unresolved critical issues.
Five opposition groups walked out of the talks last September over the detention of former MP and key opposition figure Khalil Al Marzooq.
However, the talks were revived on January 15 after His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier, met representatives from both groups to discuss ways to overcome the obstacles.
All parties then agreed on a new phase of talks, which are being arranged by the Royal Court. The Coalition of the National Political Associations, headed by the National Unity Assembly, earlier demanded a time limit be imposed for the talks to ensure they do not drag on. - TradeArabia News Service