Bahrain urges main opposition party to rejoin national dialouge
The Bahraini government has urged Al-Wefaq, the country's main Shiite opposition group, to rejoin the national dialogue after its withdrawal on Sunday, the state- run BNA news agency reported Monday.
Al-Wefaq's contribution to the one-month national dialogue is " vital to its success", BNA said, citing Dialogue spokesman Isa Abdul Rahman.
"Should any participant choose to exclude themselves from the process, the door will remain open for them to return," he was quoted as saying by the news service, Xinhua reported.
The opposition bloc said Sunday the party's top leaders agreed to quit the talks that started on July 2.
Al-Wefaq spokesman Khalil al-Marzoq said that the party tried to present serious political solutions to Bahrain's recent unrest, but were ignored by the government.
Al-Wefaq also had complained that opposition parties were under- represented in the dialogue, receiving only about 35 of the 300 seats allocated by the government.
King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa initiated the dialogue after months of unrest that left 30 people dead and produced reports of police torture of some protesters.
Bahrain has been swept by anti-government protests since February, mostly by majority Shiite, for more political and economic reforms and some of the protesters have called for bringing down the county's ruling family led by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, a strong U.S. ally, and establishing a constitution- based monarchy.
Hundreds of riot police drove in March pro-democracy demonstrators out of Manama's Pearl Square, the focal point of weeks-long protests.
Bahrain, a home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, is ruled by the Sunni Muslim al-Khalifa family where the majority Shiite population says they are facing discrimination in jobs and other services. The kingdom denies such claims.