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Bahrain king sees no need for foreign mediation

Hamad lauds initiatives to reinforce social cohesion

Gulf News

Manama: Bahrain can address its problems internally and without the need for foreign mediation, King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa said.

“Our strategy has always been to address divergences within our society through constructive contacts between all the components of the nation,” King Hamad said.

“This has been the approach since the launch of the National Action Charter until the present time. Bahraini issues are purely domestic issues that concern the people of Bahrain and we are able to manage our differences and engage in dialogue without foreign mediation,” the king said as he chaired the weekly cabinet meeting.

Bahrain has suffered from unrest with deep social consequences since early 2011 and reports have emerged about initiatives to launch a dialogue that would address the roots of the crisis and the best ways to deal with it.

However, most of the “soft” initiatives have been stalled by preconditions and by the lack of support, mainly among radicals, to making compromises that would pave the way for more meaningful talks.

In his speech, King Hamad lauded the social initiatives to reinforce social cohesion and shun violence and incitement to hatred and sectarianism.

“This is what is required from civil society organisations and from religious, literary and media figures as well as intellectuals and thinkers keen on their nation and society. Political differences must not be allowed to undermine our unity and harmony,” he said.

King Hamad added that Bahrain was capable of preserving its security regardless of the forms of terror.

“What happened in the past will not be repeated, God willing, thanks to the awareness of our people,” he said. “No development or reform or security can be achieved without respect for the law and the rule of law that must be in line with the constitution and the principles of human rights,” he said.

King Hamad said that mosques had a noble message to deliver and that they should not be exploited to incite violence or to promote hatred.

The monarch urged Bahrainis to be prepared for the move towards the Gulf union, stressing it was the way forward towards better well-being and greatness.

Bahrain has offered a strong backing to a call issued in December by Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to move from the phase of cooperation to the phase of union within a single entity.

The GCC, made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE was launched in 1981 in Abu Dhabi.

Saudi Arabia has strongly supported the idea and expectations were high that Manama and Riyadh would announce their union in May while the other countries could join later.

However, the two-speed move was momentarily put on hold at the GCC advisory summit in May to give more time to the foreign ministers to study proposals put forward by an ad-hoc commission of members from the six member states about the union.

Bahrainis hope that the union, at least between two or three capitals, will be announced before or at the GCC summit to be held in Manama in December.

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