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Government will not take part in national dialogue

Participants to focus on political topics as way out of deadlock

  • By Habib Toumi Bureau Chief
  • Published: 17:23 January 24, 2013
  • Gulf News

Manama: Bahrain’s government will take part in a planned national dialogue as a coordinator and not as a participant, a government spokesperson has said.

“The government will be present, but as a coordinator,” Samira Rajab said. “Its role will be to implement the recommendations of the participants at the dialogue. The government has started asking some political societies to name their representatives at the dialogue,” she said in remarks published by the London-based Al Sharq Al Awsat on Thursday.

Samira said that the participation would be confined to political associations and independent figures.

“The number of participants and the agenda of the dialogue will be decided later,” she said.

King Hamad has called for the re-launch of talks which started last year to address political issues in a bid to find a way out of a deadlock linked to the worst crisis in the country’s modern history.

The first national dialogue was held in July 2011 with the participation of around 300 people representing NGOs, trade unions, women’s groups, the media, the parliament and the government.

The participants addressed topics on social issues, rights and the economy and issued several recommendations including amending the constitution to empower the elected lower chamber over the appointed upper chamber.

Al Wefaq, the largest opposition society, pulled out of the talks after it demanded a wider representation at the dialogue.

Several local political formations as well as Western countries, including the US, have welcomed the call for the national dialogue and urged all political groups to take part.

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