China welcomes move towards national dialogue in Bahrain

March 5, 2011

China has joined a chorus of nations that have hailed the initiative launched by Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa to launch a national dialogue as a way out of the crisis that hit Bahrain.

“China welcomes the efforts of Bahrain’s leaders to ease tension through dialogue and believes they have the ability and wisdom to calm the situation down,” Jiang Yu, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson said.

“All Middle Eastern nations are China’s friends… China has always developed its friendly and cooperative ties with these nations based on mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit,” she said.

On Thursday, the US reiterated its support to the national dialogue and insisted that it should include the full spectrum of Bahraini society, without exception.

“We call on all of Bahrain’s friends and neighbours to support fully a Bahraini process and to refrain from interference or trying to impose a non-Bahraini solution from outside Bahrain,” Jeffrey Feltman, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, said in Manama, adding that Bahrainis can count on US support to back a Bahraini consensus on the way forward.

“The message is to encourage dialogue and not allow extremists to set the agenda. All sides have extremists and they must not impose the agenda. The goal is that the majority of Bahrainis feel they have a stake in the outcome,” he said.

For the US, the premise is not to allow extremists from both sides to set the agenda or to rule on the merit of the dialogue.

The New York Times on Friday reported that “unlike in the case of Egypt, where President Obama called for a change of power ‘now’, Washington has backed the royal family in Bahrain with statements supporting the country’s proposal for dialogue with the opposition.”

All Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Pakistan and several Western countries have urged all parties in Bahrain to seize the dialogue offer and move forward.

Calls for not shunning or defeating the spirit of the national dialogue have also emanated from Bahraini public figures.

On Wednesday, Abdul Lateef Al Mahmood, the head of the newly-formed National Unity Rally, an umbrella for thousands of supporters, said that the Rally was ready to engage in the dialogue promptly and without pre-conditions.

On Thursday, Mansoor Al Jamri, the editor in chief of Al Wasat daily, and Muneera Fakhro, one of the best-known leaders of Waad, Bahrain’s largest liberal society, told their audience at the Pearl Roundabout, the epicenter of protests, that they should take up the offer to engage in a meaningful and genuinely open dialogue to help achieve their demands.

Mansoor urged the protesters to look at events through a wider scope and appreciate the Bahraini context, stressing that it differed from the Tunisian and Egyptian ones.



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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