Bahrain society misses deadline for talks
Manama, July 3, 2011
A major new society will not be officially part of Bahrain's National Dialogue because it failed to become registered in time.
The National Unity Assembly (formerly National Unity Gathering) was only given approval to function as a political society by the Justice Islamic Affairs and Endowment (Awqaf) Ministry within the last week.
However, its chairman Dr Abdullatif Al Mahmood attended the dialogue's opening ceremony in a personal capacity.
Assembly members associated with other political societies invited were also present.
National Dialogue spokesman Isa Abdul Rahman revealed a total of 18 political societies had been invited to take part in the dialogue.
"However, the identity of the National Unity Assembly was not invited," he told a Press conference on the sidelines of the opening ceremony at the Isa Cultural Centre, Juffair. "But its members who are part of invited societies took part."
Abdul Rahman stated he believed the environment was right for the National Dialogue.
"All views and agenda suggestions include issues that directly affect Bahrain and its people in various aspects," he said.
The official said all issues agreed will be submitted to His Majesty King Hamad and some will be voted on and include notes or suggestions.
Issues where consensus was not reached will also be forwarded to His Majesty.
"So all issues agreed upon or not will be submitted to His Majesty," he said.
Abdul Rahman rejected suggestions that a specific timeframe should be put on the Dialogue process, saying it could put participants under pressure.
"They should be given the rightful amount of time to reach common grounds," he said. "Each issue should be discussed by means to ensure every aspect is taken into consideration."
Dialogue moderator Khalid Ajaji said the process would act as a healing process for Bahrain.
"Participants will meet and discuss issues until an agreement is found," he said. "They will be the ones to decide what do they want for their future and build discussions based on it."
The Dialogue will be held three times a week on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 pm to 9 pm.
Registration for participants will be held today and tomorrow.
The main session will be held on Tuesday when political societies, issues affecting the country's youth, enhancing economic competition and the rights of women and children will be discussed.
Thursday's session will feature discussions on the powers of parliament and Shura Council along with civil society institutes.
The level of government services and the judiciary will also be discussed.
A media centre has been set up at the venue to assist journalists by providing daily statements in Arabic, English and French.
Press briefings will be held daily during the sessions at 7 pm and 9 pm. – TradeArabia News Service