Manama: A ray of hope could be glowing in Bahrain after the crown prince, the parliament speaker and a prominent lawmaker referred in different statements to a national solution to the crisis that has hit Bahrain.
On Monday, Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa expressed hope that Bahrainis "who have consistently succeeded in reaching national accords" would once more achieve a satisfactory agreement.
The crown prince said that all forward-looking civil society organisations can together achieve the solution that Bahrainis aspire to have and which will guarantee welfare and a bright future for all segments of the society.
All parties keen on the stability of Bahrain should be part of the solution, said the crown prince who, three days into the crisis last year, called for a national dialogue to discuss all issues, but received no response from the opposition to launch the talks.
An international fact-finding mission that investigated the events in February and March and their consequences said in November that "the opposition missed a golden opportunity" by not responding positively to the invitation.
The lack of response eventually resulted in confrontations and in the imposition of emergency laws in mid-March. The laws were lifted in June and King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa called for a national dialogue that issued close to 300 recommendations that the government and the parliament started implementing.
However, the situation degenerated in January after demonstrators launched attacks on policemen, increasing concerns about an ominous political impasse and a dangerously widening sectarian schism.
Khalifa Al Dhahrani, the Speaker of the lower chamber, said on Monday evening that Bahrainis did not need intermediaries to bring them together and sponsor their discussions.
"The people of Bahrain are well capable of managing their affairs and improving their practice of democracy," he said. "I urge all representatives of the people to respond to calls to national discussions and achieve reconciliation and to be serious in their participation in serving the nation," he said.
Adul Al Mouawda, a veteran lawmaker who has been representing the Salafist society Al Asala since 2002, said that Bahrainis are capable of solving their issues and addressing their divergences without foreign interference.
"We have been, as Bahrainis, in constant touch and we have been holding official and non-official discussions," he said. "Bahrainis, regardless of their ideologies and tendencies, are truly able to handle their own matters," he said.
Discussions were held at the parliament, majlises [open houses] and civil society organisations, Al Mouawda, who has excellent ties with Sunnis and Shiites, said.
According to Al Ayam daily, contacts have started between some "political societies with strong influence on the local scene with the aim to prepare the ground for a national dialogue that will result in bringing Bahrainis together and reinforcing national unity."
Citing sources it did not name, the newspaper said that the initial contacts seemed positive and could contribute to appeasing the situation in the country.
"We are optimistic about positive interactions to bring Bahrainis together and herald a new phase," the sources said.