News / Middle East

Bahrain Suspends Reconciliation Talks With Opposition

Anti-government protesters wave Bahraini flags, signs saying "No to Official Terror" during rally organized by country's main opposition party Al Wefaq, Manama, Aug. 23, 2013.Anti-government protesters wave Bahraini flags, signs saying "No to Official Terror" during rally organized by country's main opposition party Al Wefaq, Manama, Aug. 23, 2013.
x
Anti-government protesters wave Bahraini flags, signs saying "No to Official Terror" during rally organized by country's main opposition party Al Wefaq, Manama, Aug. 23, 2013.
Anti-government protesters wave Bahraini flags, signs saying "No to Official Terror" during rally organized by country's main opposition party Al Wefaq, Manama, Aug. 23, 2013.
Reuters
— The Bahraini government has suspended reconciliation talks with opposition groups aimed at ending nearly three years of political deadlock in the U.S.-allied country, raising the prospect of further instability.
 
The spokesman for the talks stressed that despite the breakdown, the channels for communication remained open, but with the opposition having boycotted the talks for months, over the arrest of some of their leaders, prospects looked bleak.
 
The talks began in February last year, as part of a new drive for progress after mass protests led by majority Shi'ite Muslims erupted in early 2011 demanding reforms and a bigger share of power in the Sunni-led government of the kingdom.
 
But the discussions made little progress, with both sides unable to compromise on the opposition's main demands for a constitutional monarchy and a government formed from within an elected parliament.
 
The unrest has turned the small state, home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, into a frontline in a region-wide tussle for influence between Shi'ite Muslim Iran and Sunni Arab states such as Saudi Arabia.
 
State news agency BNA said late on Wednesday that government representatives made the decision to suspend the talks after opposition members failed to show up for a meeting in Manama.
 
They stopped attending the meetings as long ago as September in protest at the arrest of Khalil al-Marzouq, a leader of the opposition group Al-Wefaq, on charges of inciting terrorism.
 
"The participants in the National Dialogue have today decided to suspend sessions. They have announced their decision after attending the 28th session," the news agency, BNA, said.
 
The agency said government representatives and members of parliament blamed "five political associations" — a reference to the opposition groups — for the breakdown in dialogue.
 
Isa Abdul Rahman, spokesman for the dialogue talks, said the decision did not mean an end to the dialogue.
 
"The announcement stressed that the channels of communication remain open, but nothing can be finalized [in any bilateral talks] except by the reconvening of the dialogue," Abdul Rahman told Reuters.
 
Marzouq, who has since been released on bail, blamed the government for the collapse and said the opposition was still committed to dialogue.
 
"The authority had not been looking for partners ... because it does not believe in partnership," Marzouq said in comments carried by Wefaq's website.
 
Representatives of the government and parliament said they would continue "consultations and national work towards consolidating political gains," BNA said without elaborating.
 
Bahraini Shi'ites complain of discrimination by the country's ruling Sunni minority in jobs, housing and education — a charge the government denies.
 
A previous attempt at reconciliation in 2011 collapsed when the opposition walked away from the talks, saying they were not carried out fairly.
 
Opposition members complained then that Wefaq was given only one out of 60 seats in the dialogue, the same number as very small pro-government parties.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bernice B. from: USA
January 09, 2014 3:53 PM
thank to a Kenyan Muslim, Allies of the US have lost all trust in the US... we have become a liability to our own allies... what a shame.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid