07/02/2011, 00.00
BAHRAIN

Bahrain: Shiites join nascent reconciliation talks

Al-Wefaq, the largest opposition bloc, will send five delegates. Without the participation of the Shiites "national dialogue" was in jeopardy. "If you do not discuss the problems of the people, we will withdraw," announced the leader of the party. Al-Wefaq was one of the main animators of the popular uprising of the last five months.
Dubai (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Al-Wefaq, the largest Shi'ite bloc of opposition in Bahrain, will participate in the reconciliation talks that begin today, with five delegates, it was announced last night by Sheikh Ali Salman, leader of the party, during a rally in Diraz, a stronghold of the opposition in the north-west of the capital Manama. "No one listens to us - Salman said - so we'll go to the dialogue. But if the talks do not deal with what people need, we will withdraw".

The al-Wefaq decision to join the so-called "national dialogue" lends credibility to the process, already criticized by some activists for not including key members of the royal family and government. The national forum brings together 300 participants from political parties, NGOs, media, parliament, trade unions and business.

Ahead of the talks, the King set up an independent commission, composed of international jurists to clarify what happened during the protests in February and March.

The al-Wefaq party was one of the main leaders of the unrest and riots that began in February and have rocked Bahrain. In a Shiite-majority country, but ruled by a Sunni royal family, the people demanded more democracy and less discrimination. During the popular uprising in the wake of the "Arab Spring", 24 people died, including 4 policemen.

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