Top ministers to join Bahrain dialogue
Manama, February 14, 2013
Three top ministers will play an active role in the dialogue and will soon present the government's vision for discussion, it was agreed last night.
"Any consensus made in the National Dialogue will be directly referred to His Majesty King Hamad for action," Education Minister Dr Majid Al Nuaimi was quoted as saying by the Gulf Daily News.
He was speaking as 27 political figures, ministers, Shura Council members and MPs continued talks that could shape the country's future, for the second time this week at Al Areen Palace and Spa.
The discussions will take place every Sunday and Wednesday in a bid to end Bahrain's two-year political stalemate.
However, opposition groups have asked for more time to assess the discussion topics and the paper put forward by the National Alliance of Political Societies - meaning next Sunday's meeting will not take place, the report said.
"We have come a long way through the positivity of all participants - the alliance, the opposition, independents representing the National Assembly and ministers," said Dr Al Nuaimi.
"The opposition has asked for discussions to be considered as negotiations, but in the end it was agreed that it would remain as dialogue that requires consensus.
"There was a difference in opinion on the constitutional wording of decisions with opposing views, on how it gets revised.
"Hopefully, next Wednesday it will be resolved as the opposition has requested more time for study, which was agreed on by the alliance."
Dr Al Nuaimi said the positive attitude of participants has helped shape the dialogue and given it the needed push to succeed.
"Bahrain's democracy is set to advance and it will reach unprecedented heights with the reform ideas being presented and hopefully approved through consensus," he added.
"There is an enthusiasm to do things for the good of the nation and with that optimism rewards will come."
Meanwhile, dialogue spokesman Isa Abdulrahman said participants will decide on the mechanism of implementation at the upcoming sessions.
"The consensus amongst participants was that Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowment Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa will be responsible for submitting the final decisions to the King, but the mechanism of implementation is still to be agreed on," he said during a Press conference last night.
The ministers taking part are Shaikh Khalid, Dr Al Nuaimi and Works Minister Essam Khalaf.
Representatives of the coalition opposition groups, which are a mix of Shi'ite Islamists and secular movements, include Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, Al Ekha National Society, National Democratic Action Society (Waad), National Democratic Assembly Society (Al Qawmi) and Democratic Progressive Tribune (Al Taqadumy).
The Unity Democratic Gathering Society (Wahdawy) is part of the coalition, but has refused to take part in talks.
Members of the National Alliance of Political Societies - majority Sunni Islamist groups, created to offset the opposition during the dialogue - include National Unity Assembly, National Action Charter Society, Al Menbar National Islamic Society, Al Asala Islamic Society, Al Wasat Arab Islamic Society, National Constitutional Assembly, National Dialogue Society, Al Shurra Islamic Society and Al Saf Islamic Society. A 10th member of the coalition, Al Adala, pulled out last week because it wanted 10 representatives at the dialogue and claimed the process was vague. - TradeArabia News Service