Bahrain opposition wants Kuwait to mediate: report

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 27, 2011 2:55 AM

MANAMA (Reuters) - Bahrain's largest Shi'ite opposition party Wefaq wants Kuwait to mediate in talks with Bahrain's government to end a political crisis and protests gripping the tiny kingdom, a Kuwaiti newspaper said on Sunday.

A delegation from Wefaq is expected to arrive in Kuwait on Sunday, daily al-Seyassah said citing unnamed political sources.

The Wefaq delegation will meet Kuwaiti politicians including Parliament Speaker Jassem al-Kharafi, the paper said.

Bahraini forces on March 16 ended an uprising by mostly Shi'ite protesters that had prompted the king to impose martial law and call in troops from fellow Sunni-ruled neighbors.

Wefaq and its six allies have said they will not enter talks offered by Bahrain's Crown Prince unless the government pulls troops off the streets and frees prisoners. They also want reforms including the creation of an elected council to redraft the constitution and a new government not dominated by royals.

More than 60 percent of Bahrainis are Shi'ites, and most are campaigning for a constitutional monarchy, but calls by hardliners for the overthrow of the monarchy have alarmed Sunnis, who fear the unrest serves Shi'ite Iran, separated from Bahrain by just a short stretch of Gulf waters.

(Writing by Rania El Gamal; Editing by Louise Ireland)