MANAMA: No issue will be off limits as Bahrain's second round of National Dialogue gets underway today. Leading opposition figures, MPs, Shura Council members and government officials will take part in a series of closed-door meetings that hope to end the political stalemate.
The talks will take place three days a week at the Al Areen Palace and Spa in Sakhir until consensus is reached.
Dialogue spokesman and media centre head Isa Abdulrahman said around 30 people would take part in today's first session. "They can discuss everything on the table and there is no restriction," he said. "Consensus by all parties is key. This will also mean that the time frame of the dialogue depends on participants reaching consensus."
The coalition of opposition groups until last night did not officially announce the names of the six representatives who would be taking part in the talks. However, sources said representatives from the coalition are expected to turn up today to attend the session.
Mr Abdulrahman said the first task facing participants would be to establish a final agenda that will shape the talks. He added agreement reached during the dialogue would be implemented by legislation, amendments or by Royal decree, depending on the nature of the outcome.
The Information Affairs Authority (IAA) urged newspapers to exercise responsible freedom when publishing news about the dialogue. "Some newspapers have published inaccurate statements and news which may compromise the National Dialogue," said an IAA statement. It said the doors will remain open for journalists to get official information.
Morocco welcomed His Majesty King Hamad's call to resume the Dialogue. Its foreign ministry backed efforts aimed at achieving national unity and reiterated solidarity with Bahrain.