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Bahrain Opposition Rejects Govt. Talks

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TEHRAN, Feb 20 (ICANA) – Bahrain opposition group has rejected holding talks with the Bahraini regime until the government resigns amid rising pro-democracy uprising in the Persian Gulf country.
Sunday, February 20, 2011 9:52:45 AM
Bahrain Opposition Rejects Govt. Talks

The opposition announced on Saturday that the government must quit and the army should withdraw from the streets of the capital Manama before dialogue, AFP reported Saturday. The rejection came after Bahrain King Hamad al-Khalifa ordered his eldest son, Crown Prince Salman, to start a national dialogue with opposition groups to resolve the Arab state's political crisis. "To consider dialogue, the government must resign and the army should withdraw from the streets" of Manama, said Abdul Jalil Khalil Ibrahim, the head of the parliamentary group of Al-Wefaq, the largest shia opposition bloc. "What we're seeing now is not the language of dialogue but the language of force," he said. The Bahraini army's crackdown on pro-democracy protesters left at least 95 wounded on Friday. Four pro-democracy protesters were killed and 231 others injured when riot police raided the protest camp in the early hours of Thursday, while most of the demonstrators were sleeping, in an attempt to clear the capital's main square of demonstrators. The Bahraini crown prince expressed condolences to citizens over the killing of demonstrators in Manama and called for dialogue, although security forces continue to use live fire on pro-democracy protesters in the capital. On Friday, security forces opened fire on Bahrainis who were heading toward Manama's Salmaniyeh hospital in silence to visit the people who were injured and hospitalized the previous day. Sheikh Salman said that holding dialogue "in a climate of total calm" is the only way to solve the problems of the kingdom and added that "No issue can be excluded from that dialogue." "What is happening today in Bahrain is not acceptable… We have reached a dangerous stage that necessitates that each of us acknowledges the responsibilities… Bahrain today is divided." Sheikh Salman, who is known as a reformer, also expressed his condolences to the victims' families. He went on to say that it will take time to evaluate the reasons for the uprising and to reunite the people. The army had vowed to use "strict measures" to restore order after a deadly pre-dawn police raid on Thursday. Bahrain is of strategic importance to the United States since the US Navy's Fifth Fleet is based in the country and about 40 percent of the world's oil passes through the Persian Gulf. Shia opposition MP Abdel Jalil Khalil Ibrahim said that a man was clinically dead after being hit in the head by a bullet in the incident. Another opposition lawmaker, Ali al-Aswad, accused the army of firing live ammunition at pro-democracy protesters.

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