Bahrain reconciliation talks set to resume
Manama, January 23, 2013
Bahrain's government said on Wednesday talks aimed at breaking nearly two years of political deadlock would proceed after opposition groups seeking a parliamentary democracy accepted an invitation from His Majesty the King.
The kingdom has been in political turmoil since protests demanding changes erupted in early 2011.
Information Minister Samira Rajab told Reuters on Wednesday that the government would ask all parties to nominate representatives to the talks, which could start soon provided they were "very serious" about dialogue.
"Their statement was positive," Rajab said of the opposition's acceptance of the invitation.
"All the steps will start. I think the timeframe will go fast, as long as all the parties are willing to go through positive, very serious dialogue," she said.
She said the government would moderate the event, help arrange the agenda and implement any recommendations that it produced.
"As far as I understand, the government won't be represented there. They will be the moderators, the regulator," she said without elaborating.
Opposition grourps have welcomed the latest invitation from His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, saying they hoped the gesture was serious.
Khalil Al-Marzouq, an official of the main opposition group Wefaq, said he had no details on how the talks would be organised. The government was usually slow in providing information about such matters, he said.
Talks in July 2011 ended inconclusively after Wefaq pulled out, complaining it had not been allowed enough representation at the negotiations, and there were too many handpicked participants to reach a meaningful consensus. - Reuters