Bahrain’s crown prince says dialogue to resolve crisis should be through constitutional channels

August 25, 2010

Bahrain’s crown prince said that any dialogue to resolve the current crisis in his country should be through constitutional and legal channels.

“The preconditions are that all parties must accept a constitutional solution to the crisis and that no-one is above the rule of law,” Shaikh Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa said. “The dialogue that we seek must respond to the will of HM the King to achieve security and stability. Any alternative to these premises will be categorically rejected,” Shaikh Salman said on Tuesday evening, quoted by Bahrain News Agency (BNA).

Al Wefaq, the largest society and bloc in the 2006-2010 parliament, welcomed the call by Shaikh Salman for dialogue, saying that the best way to resolving problem was “constructive dialogue and communication bridges.”
“Such means will allow us to confront all challenges through the appropriate legitimate channels,” the society said in a statement. “Calls for dialogue should have positive resonance within the official circles and should be warmly heard by political and community groups.”

Al Wefaq also welcomed remarks by local religious leader Abdullah Al Ghuraifi calling for dialogue and warning that resorting to violence by any party would not help the country.

Al Ghuraifi, in his remarks published in Al Wasat daily, said that the security and political developments in Bahrain would not affect participation in the elections.

“The option to take part in the political process remains robust despite pitfalls and challenges,” he said.

Government officials have repeatedly ruled out any link between the arrests and the parliamentary and municipal elections on October 23, insisting that the suspects had been arrested after the authorities discovered the existence of a network, allegedly funded by religious figures and businessmen, targeting the country’s security.

Bahrain has seen a new wave of clashes between security forces and rioters after members of Haq Movement were arrested earlier this month.

Haq splintered from Al Wefaq in 2005 following irreconcilable divergences over the merit of participating in the parliamentary elections. The movement does not recognise the constitution promulgated in 2002 and has refused to register under the Society Law governing the existence of political formations in Bahrain.

According to the authorities, the suspects have been detained on charges of belonging to a network plotting to undermine the country’s security and stability. Others who were later detained were arrested for their implication in acts of arson or sabotage, and in one case, in trying to run over a policeman, security sources said.

Shaikh Fawaz Bin Mohammad Al Khalifa, the head of the media authority (former information ministry) on Tuesday evening said that “while Bahrain as an open and liberal society allowed for freedom of expression and peaceful protest, it would not tolerate any groups or individuals engaging in illegal activities that seek to threaten national stability and foment violence.”

“All individuals concerned are being treated in accordance with international standards for detainees and will face trial in accordance with the laws of Bahrain,” he said, quoted by BNA.

The justice ministry said that the drive to uphold the rule of law would continue and that all groups that have not registered officially had until the end of Ramadan, expected on September 10, to regularize their situation.

The ministry has repeatedly urged all societies not to support those who were involved in acts of terror or sabotage and to help in the drive to uphold the law.

Bahrain ruled out any role for Tehran in the crisis and reports linking the arrests with alleged pro-Iran sleeping cells in Arabian Gulf countries ready to target local interests in case Iran is attacked were dismissed by Bahrain’s National Security Agency as “untrue and lacking credibility.”

According to the Iranian ambassador to Bahrain, the trouble was fomented by countries that had negative plans for the region.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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