Importance of Bahrain national dialogue stressed

November 8, 2013

The Italian ambassador to Bahrain has stressed the significance of the national dialogue for the future of the kingdom.

“We definitely consider dialogue the only reasonable way of achieving long-term political goals and to put aside the extremists who obviously play against the interests of the country,” Alberto Vecchi said. “Dialogue is definitely the only way to achieve a sustainable solution for the future. So, we cannot but support with all our heart the efforts of His Majesty the King and commend the path of reforms that he and his government have taken in any time,” he said.

King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa had called for a national dialogue between all segments of the Bahraini society to help heal wounds that were opened as the country lived through dramatic events in February and March 2011.

The first part of the dialogue was held in July 2011 and brought together MPs, NGOs, the media, trade unions and the government who agreed on a set of recommendations, including amendments to the constitution to increase popular participation, that were later implemented.

However, the political themes of the talks were launched on February 10 this year between delegates from the parliament, the government, an alliance of opposition societies and another alliance of other political societies.

However, the 27 participants have yet to agree on a final platform and the agenda for the talks among sharp disagreements and the decision of the opposition to suspend their participation. The other three parties reacted by giving it until December for its final decision.

In an interview, the Italian diplomat warned that the enemies of dialogue would attempt to undermine it through the use of violence.

“Of course the path of dialogue has enemies as it always happens, and those enemies resort to violence to disrupt these efforts,” Vecchi said. “It would be a victory for those factions that do not want an agreement to be reached if violence succeeded in impeding the continuation of dialogue. So, this why we in Italy would be very happy in seeing all the parties back to the table with a genuine will to achieve a new basis for their mutual relationship,” he said, quoted by Bahrain News Agency (BNA).

The ambassador said that everyone should be aware that reform was not a goal, but rather a never-ending process.

“The only way to move forward is to keep talking to each other and compromise. In a compromise, we need to be well aware of the fact that we have to give up something in order to achieve something that can last and for the good of the whole country. This is something we are experiencing in Italy nowadays and definitely that is something that is valid for Bahrain as well. There will always be enemies of the dialogue, people who do not want an agreement to be reached because that would go against their own interests, but definitely not against the interests of the country,” he said.

Vecchi insisted that “there must be absolutely the genuine intention to renounce violence by all the parties, any kind of violence as a means of achieving political goals; otherwise, no dialogue at the end of the day can be fruitful”.

Referring to Bahraini-Italian relations, the ambassador said that both Manama and Rome had the “absolute will” to promote their cooperation in several areas, including the cultural field.

“Many things can be done in the fields of archaeological studies and archaeological sites of which Italy has deep knowledge, of course, being a country with some of the widest archaeological sites in the world. In the educational field, the possibilities are huge. We have several opportunities and several quality universities and postgraduate institutions in many fields from architecture to medicine,” he said.

The ambassador said that he was not aware of any talks to waive entry visas for Bahrainis.

“Visas are no longer a national issue, it is a Schengen issue. So, any approach to abolish visas would not have to be made on a bilateral basis, but at the Schengen level,” he said.

Bahrain is home to 350 Italian permanent residents. “It is a small but young community of very high-profile people who include businessmen, architects and bankers,” he said.



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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