The Financial Times interviews Sheikh Ali Salman, General Secretary of Al Wefaq:
Western governments should press Bahrain’s king to sack his government and act consistently with their stance on other Arab uprisings, said the leader of the country’s main Shia opposition party.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Sheikh Ali Salman, head of al-Wefaq, argued that the ruling al-Khalifa family was squandering an opportunity presented by the recommendations of an independent inquiry into rights abuses.
The report, which was commissioned by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, delivered a damning indictment last month of the conduct of security forces in the suppression of Shia unrest in February and March.
The turmoil in Bahrain, part of the popular protests in the Arab world, raised alarm in the Sunni-dominated Gulf and among western allies of the strategic country that is home to the US navy’s fifth fleet. The Sunni monarchy said the Shia uprising was backed by Iran and called on military assistance from its Gulf neighbours.
Western governments said the report, produced by a team led by war crimes expert Cherif Bassiouni, represented a rare opportunity for national reconciliation. But the continued tensions between the regime and the opposition suggest that Bahrain’s crisis could be heading towards escalation.
The UK’s prime minister, David Cameron, met King Hamad in London on Monday and urged him to go ahead with reforms and engage with the opposition.
“The US and UK should call for an elected, representative government, and a timetable and a road map to achieve that,” said Sheikh Salman. “If this does not happen then they should say that this regime has lost legitimacy. This is what is suitable if they want to talk about democracy and not show double standards in the Arab spring.”
Read the full article here (registration required): http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/45bef9d2-2595-11e1-9c76-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1gWUNkU5D