7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

Al Wefaq pullout is rapped

OFFICIALS yesterday slammed a key opposition group's decision to pull out of Bahrain's historic National Dialogue.

The Al Wefaq National Islamic Society claimed it was under-represented in the talks and said the process would not solve the country's problems.

It had earlier threatened to boycott the sessions following a verbal clash with outspoken MP Jassim Al Saeedi, who branded bloc members "rejectionists".

"I don't think an inconclusive approach serves to enrich the Dialogue and develop our society," said National Dialogue spokesman Isa Abdulrahman.

However, he said the door would remain open for the bloc to return to the talks.

In a statement issued earlier by its general secretariat, Al Wefaq said it had adopted a decision taken by its Dialogue participants to withdraw for various reasons.

The group speculated that the Dialogue will not result in a radical political solution to Bahrain's dilemma.

"The outcomes are previously planned and will only further complicate Bahrain's political situation," it said.

The society also claimed its presence was being used to give credibility to the Dialogue.

The group revealed that continuing in the Dialogue in its current status will only lead to the loss of the Dialogue and its hoped results.

Meanwhile, Dia-logue officials revealed they had not received any indication that Al Wefaq or any other participant intended to pull out.

"I can confirm that the National Dialogue have not received any indication that any participant had withdrawn," Mr Abdulrahman said at a Press briefing at Isa Cultural Centre, Juffair.

"We strongly request participants to remain fully engaged. I don't think an inconclusive approach serves to enrich the Dialogue and develop our society.

"Participants are always welcome to return to the Dialogue," he said.

Al Wefaq's decision evoked widespread condemnation yesterday.

Bahrain University associate professor in psychology department Dr Nu'man Al Mossawi described the decision to quit as "not wise".

"Al Wefaq is not the only one with restrictions on the dialogue," he said.

"However, we are all here to take part in developing Bahrain and sharing our views and opinions, even if they clash.

"This is the point of the Dialogue, to put all opinions on the table."

Dr Al Mossawi stressed that all views, whether agreed upon or not, would be put before His Majesty King Hamad.

"Al Wefaq can join and place their restrictions and opinions openly," he said.

"It seems like this was the intention as most of its members were pressuring them to withdraw.

"Different opinions do not ruin the Dialogue as it is actually intended to be continued until a consensus is reached."

Shura Council member Lulwa Al Awadhi said the society's withdrawal was a loss to the process. "They should not have withdrawn from the Dialogue for the benefit of everyone," she said.

Meanwhile, MP Isa Al Kooheji said it was Al Wefaq's decision to withdraw, as they had been invited to take part like everyone else.

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