The Bahraini government launched national dialogue talks with the opposition on Saturday (July 2nd), as a way to promote reconciliation after months of anti-regime protests. Bahrain's largest opposition block, al-Wefaq, decided to participate one day before talks began.
A total of 300 government and opposition representatives met in Manama on Saturday at a forum opened by Parliament Speaker Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Dhahrani, who said in his speech that the conference would bring together "different points of view to develop common visions".
The government set no preconditions, al-Dhahrani said. The discussions will last until the end of July.
Al-Wefaq's secretary general, Sheik Ali Salman, told a rally on Friday that the party will not compromise on demands including the release of political prisoners and a democratic government, and that they will withdraw from the talks if the demands are not met.