First Published: 2013-01-22

 

King seeks to break chronic political deadlock in Bahrain

 

Bahrain's King Hamad calls for new round of national dialogue, previously shunned by Shiite-led opposition.

 

Middle East Online

Two years of deadlock

DUBAI - Bahrain's King Hamad has called for a new round of national dialogue, previously shunned by the Shiite-led opposition, the government's Information Affairs Authority said.

King Hamad's call follows last month's plea for dialogue made by Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, as protests continue in the Shiite-majority kingdom despite a heavy-handed crackdown on demonstrations in March 2011.

Following directives by King Hamad, Justice Minister sheikh Khalid bin Ali al-Khalifa invited "representatives of the political societies and independent members of the political community in Bahrain to resume political discussions," the Information Affairs Authority said late Monday.

It said the topics for the dialogue "will be those pending issues to be agreed upon, aiming to achieve further consensus around the political agenda."

The opposition has repeatedly said it was ready for a meaningful dialogue, but has stuck to its demands for a real constitutional monarchy with an elected prime minister in Bahrain.

Al-Wefaq, the largest Shiite opposition formation, said in December it was ready for dialogue, but it had pulled out of the earlier July 2011 round of such discussions.

Bahrain has been shaken by unrest since its forces in March 2011 crushed a month of popular Shiite-led protests demanding greater rights and an end to what they said was discrimination by the Sunni royals.

The International Federation for Human Rights says 80 people have died since the start of the Arab Spring-inspired uprising on February 14, 2011.

 

UN Syria peace talks begin in Geneva

Israel to deny Human Rights Watch visas for being ‘biased’

Iraqi forces enter IS-held west Mosul

Suicide bomb attack on rebels kills 42 near Al-Bab

Marrakesh clinches top ranking of African urban life

Saudi minister discusses hajj with Iran

136 Turkish diplomats, soldiers seek German asylum since coup

New Hamas ‘strongman’ could spell fresh Israeli conflict

Suicide car bomb kills eight outside Yemen army base

Fired Turkish academics protest ‘unjust’ dismissals

Iraqi forces jovial after Mosul airport entry

Syrian rebels announce capture of flashpoint town from IS

Iraqi forces enter IS-held Mosul airport

Swedish citizen jailed for IS Facebook post

Somalia names new prime minister

Netanyahu backs pardon for Israel soldier who shot Palestinian

UN envoy meets Syrian rivals, hopes of breakthrough slim

Yemeni government forces pin back rebels on coast

Israeli Supreme Court appoints deeply right-wing judges

Hundreds of Australians protest Netanyahu

Yemen rebel fire kills policeman on Saudi border

UN condemns Israel's new West Bank demolition plans

UN envoy says Russia asked Syria to halt bombing during talks

Bahrain arrests 20, approves military trials for civilians

Israel blocks EU lawmakers from Gaza entry

Syrian migrant on trial in Austria over 20 murders

UN says rapes, killings still blight Darfur

Yemen president says Saudi saving $10 bn for reconstruction

Top Yemen commander killed in missile strike

New Somali president says ability to deal with nation's problems 'limited'

Israel lifts ban on basketball team playing in Turkey

Arab League condemns Israeli soldier’s lenient sentence

Turkey lifts ban on Islamic headscarves in army

Israeli ministry orders removal of Haifa ammonia tank

Iraqi forces ready for assault on Mosul airport

Turkey says fewer than 100 IS jihadists left in Al-Bab

Former Iraqi soldier in German court for war crimes

Australia PM welcomes Netanyahu, slams 'one-sided' UN

Syrian opposition, government due in Geneva before talks

Israeli parliament to retain controversial dress code

Bahrain police clash with demonstrators over death of young Shiite

Mogadishu under security lockdown for president's inauguration

US-backed fighters seize more than dozen villages in Syria’s east

UN says seven million Yemenis on brink of starvation

Egypt, Jordan say no concessions on Palestinian state