Bahrain to resume national dialogue: Is opposition ready?
DUBAI - Bahrain's justice ministry announced Monday that national talks aimed to end the kingdom's political stalemate will resume on February 10 after an earlier round failed to bring the opposition onboard.
Justice Minister Khalid bin Ali al-Khalifa said that the dialogue will reconvene on Sunday, February 10, after he met representatives of the six opposition groups, as well as eight other associations that are on good terms with the government, BNA state news agency reported.
The opposition groups included Al-Wefaq, the largest formation in the Shiite-majority Gulf state that is ruled by the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty.
It was not clear if the government would participate in the dialogue as a party, or just preside over the talks.
King Hamad called in January for a new round of talks in a move cautiously welcomed by the opposition which had shunned earlier invitations, as protests continue in the kingdom despite a heavy-handed crackdown on demonstrations in March 2011.
The opposition has repeatedly said it is ready for a meaningful dialogue, but has stuck to its demands for a real constitutional monarchy with an elected prime minister.
Al-Wefaq, which had pulled out of a similar round of talks in July 2011, said in December that it was ready for new dialogue.
Bahrain has been shaken by unrest since its forces crushed two years ago popular Shiite-led protests demanding greater rights and an end to what they said was discrimination by the Sunni royals.
The International Federation for Human Rights says 80 people have been killed since the start of the Arab Spring-inspired uprising on February 14, 2011.