Caption: Bahrain justice minister Shaikh bin Ali Al Khalifa meets political societies ahead of the national dialogue, which is set to start on February 10 COURTESY BNA

Manama: A much-anticipated national dialogue in Bahrain is scheduled to start on Sunday, the justice minister said.

The date was announced after Shaikh Khalid Bin Ali Al Khalifa on Monday separately met two groups of political formations that will be represented at the dialogue on February 10. Invitations to the talks are being sent out, the ministry said.

The talks between the various political groups in the country are seen as a bid to help overcome deep divergences and end a deadlock that gripped the nation for more than 20 months.

King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa called for the talks and the justice ministry has been in contact with the different political groups to nominate their representatives who will sit with eight independent figures and seek ways to address thorny political issues.

Six opposition societies formed an alliance and presented their terms for the dialogue while 10 other political formations said they would take part in the talks under the National Alliance banner. Each of the alliances will be represented by six people.

‘Open doors’

Meanwhile, King Hamad has said that Bahrain’s doors remain open to all views that strengthen the country’s status.

“There is no doubt that all the doors are open to any view that increases the country’s strength and power,” the king said. “There are no closed doors. Maybe a door has been shifted in the sense that instead of being located in one area, it was moved to another place. Therefore, we need to put the tools we have in our hands to the best use,” he said as he received prominent business people and thanked them for their efforts to bolster the economy amid the global economic crisis.

The government said that it would organise and moderate the talks, but would not be an interlocutor.

However, the two alliances insisted on a more active participation by the government to give an impetus to the dialogue.