Bahrain king calls for national dialogue

June 1, 2011

Bahrain’s King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa Tuesday asked the government and parliament to call for a dialogue on July 1 to “boost a national consensus on the ideal development for the kingdom”.

Addressing local editors and columnists, King Hamad said that the dialogue is a national strategic choice to reach common solutions and should be “serious, comprehensive and without preconditions”.

All parties should take part in the dialogue to discuss the future of the country and offer their views on ways to bolster reforms and development in all areas, contribute to reinforcing positive changes and fulfilling the aspirations of the Bahraini people in achieving peace and justice, King Hamad said.

The proposals will be submitted to the king and later to constitutional institutions, he said, hours before emergency laws imposed on March 15 were to be lifted. King Hamad reiterated commitment to reforms “even though what has happened recently in Bahrain has profoundly hurt us.”

“The reforms are a matter of faith and determination that we share with the people. We have agreed to move forward together and gradually,” he said.

The army Tusday said that it was handing over security-related tasks to the Public Security and National Guard, but warned that it would be ready to impose order if needed.

In February, Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa called for a national dialogue comprising the whole spectrum of Bahraini society “where nobody would be excluded and no issue would be ignored”.

Call largely unheeded

His call went largely unheeded with the opposition setting several preconditions for the talks. Only the National Unity Rally, an umbrella organisation, said it was ready to engage in dialogue. Alarmed by the cold response, the US sent Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, to Bahrain in March to help push for the dialogue.

Tanks have begun withdrawing from Manama’s streets ahead of the planned lifting of a state of emergency today.

Bahrain called in units from the Peninsula Shield and imposed emergency laws after radicals called for the establishment of a republic.



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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