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.

 

41 killed in Istanbul airport bomb, gun attacks

Democratic hopes fade away in Egypt

US-backed Syria rebels advance on key IS link to Iraq

Ban to Israeli PM: Gaza blockade ‘collective punishment’

Egypt becoming departure country for migrants to Europe

Turkish forces kill 2 suspected IS jihadists at Syria border

Egypt president urges religious reforms to counter extremists

First aid convoy since 2012 enters two besieged Syria towns

Race to succeed Cameron begins after stunning Brexit vote

Yemen peace talks to take two-week break

Iraq secures $2.7 billion US military loan

ISIS pushes back Syria rebel offensive on Iraq route

Israel cabinet approves Turkey reconciliation deal

Turkey airport attack slams limping tourism industry

Putin lifts Turkey travel restrictions, orders trade 'normalised'

Fears for stranded Syrian refugees as Jordan blocks access

Bahrain activist back in jail despite worsening health

Witnesses recount Istanbul attack

Car bomb kills 10 in Kurdish-held Syria town

Alstom-led consortium awarded $2.88 billion Dubai metro extension

Israel revokes controversial 'Hannibal Directive'

Detained Bahraini activist hospitalised

UN chief urges Netanyahu to make tough choices

Saudi Aramco, SABIC in joint petrochemicals study

Yemen clashes, air strikes kill 37 civilians

Egypt's anti-graft tsar becomes public enemy number one

Iraqis shun return to 'cursed' Fallujah

Lebanese army raids refugee camps after bombings

Ankara goes back on compensation offer for downed Russia jet

Iraq court deals blow to PM's cabinet reform efforts

UAE jails Emirati woman for spying for Hezbollah

Eight hurt in Turkey car bombing blamed on PKK

Iran hopes Saudi embassy attack trial will restore confidence

France charges Assad's uncle with graft

EgyptAir black box flight recorder 'repaired'

11 Kurdish rebels, 3 Revolutionary Guards killed in Iran

Egypt deports British-Lebanese TV show host

Turkey seeks to restore broken ties with Russia

Deadly bombings target Yemen troops in ex-Qaeda bastion

NGOs press EU leaders on Africa migrant plan

Jordanian intelligence officials sold weapons for Syria rebels on black market

On British-Irish border, Brexit breeds worries for future

New lawyers of Gaddafi son urge ICC to drop case

Bahrain jails 5 people on charges linked to ‘terrorism’

Erdogan apologises to Putin over downing of Russia jet