No taboos, no exclusion in national dialogue: Bahrain minister

February 24, 2011

Shaikh Khalid

Bahrain’s foreign minister has stressed that all issues could be debated at the planned dialogue between the different parties in the country.

“There is no such a thing as a taboo subject or an off-limit issue,” Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa said. “At the same time, everyone is invited to take part, and nobody will be denied participation in the nation-wide dialogue,” the minister told Bahrain Television in an interview.

Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa on Saturday called for the dialogue to help put an end to Bahrain’s worst crisis in its modern history.

He has regularly repeated the call for calm as a prelude for talks that would involve all components of the society and would seek “genuine reforms”.

“There is no ceiling to the issues that can be debated around the table where there is ample space to accommodate all those interested in the dialogue for the sake of the nation,” Shaikh Khalid said. “Even the criteria for selecting ministers can be on the table for discussions,” he said.

The minister, known for his vast diplomatic experience, said that Bahrain was going through a new phase, and not just limited changes.

“History will not forgive anyone who tears at Bahrain’s social issue or cracks the age-old cohesion of its people,” he said, referring to attempts to divide Bahrainis along sectarian faults.

In Manama, religious leader Abdullah Al Guraifi said that he praised any genuine call for dialogue, but warned that it would fail if there is no “valid ground and conditions” for talks.

“There has to be a robust agreement on the grounds, principles and conditions to ensure the dialogue does not fail,” Al Guraifi, one of the top Shiite leaders on Bahrain, said. “Promises alone are not enough to convince people and forces,” he said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

The statement was the first public reaction by a Shiite leader to the call from Prince Salman to start a dialogue and adopt confidence-building measures to overcome the crisis.

Al Guraifi said that the protesters should move under the banner of unity and cohesion.



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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