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.

 

Egypt renews calls for creation of joint military force at Arab summit

Torturous Iran talks move into top gear in battle of wills

Qaeda seizes 'majority' of Syria northwestern city of Idlib

Saudi ambassador to return to Sweden after diplomatic spat

Oil prices fall after Yemen-inspired gains

Libya forces ‘withdraw’ from frontline bases near oil ports

UN Security Council keeps Libya arms embargo in place

Saudi-led airstrikes target arms depots in Yemen capital

Death toll from hotel attack rises as fighting continues in Somalia

Turkish parliament passes security bill after long debate

Turkey army chief of staff visits historic tomb inside Syria

Saudi-led coalition keeps up raids against Yemen rebels

Assad says open to dialogue with US

US backs Saudi-led intervention in Yemen

Heavy Saudi raids force Sanaa residents to flee

Israeli Arab MP walks for Bedouins

Gulf stocks regain ground after early losses over Yemen

Kerry presses Iran on nuclear deal before deadline

Somali pirates seize Iranian fishing vessel

Borse Dubai sells big stake in London Stock Exchange

Can Arabs form joint military force?

Libya rivals discuss UN-backed peace proposals

French President to join 'anti-terror' march in Tunis

Sisi underscores Egypt’s rights to tap Nile water

US-led coalition aircraft bomb Tikrit

Saudi warplanes strike Yemen rebels in Sanaa

Netanyahu to form Israel new government after shock victory

Turkey military responds to Kurdish attacks in southeast

Leaders see horror of air crash as investigators step up probe

Fistfight in Iraqi Kurdish parliament

Syria rebels seize ancient town of Busra Sham

UN reveals plethora of abuses against activists in Libya

IS attack kills 5 militia fighters in Libya city of Sirte

Yemen President ‘in safety’ as rebel forces advance

US considering launching air strikes on Tikrit

Yemen Huthis seizes key airbase near Aden

'Feminist' policy costing dear to Sweden

Obama says row with Netanyahu ‘substantive’

Tunisia honours victims of deadly attack on national museum

Roadside bomb kills two Egypt soldiers in restive Sinai

‘Islamic State’ woos Syria children with money: More than 400 recruited in 2015 alone

Huthi-led militia push on southern Yemen

US envoy to Libya leaves Twitter after barrage of online abuse

US provides 'eye in the sky' to support Iraq Tikrit operation

Turkey prosecutors launch probe as ruling party rift grows