Bahrain Foreign Minister, UK MP & Former Bahrain MP twitter debate

A debate on twitter between Khalid Alkhalifa the Foreign Minister of Bahrain, Conor Burns a UK MP and Chair of the Bahrain All Parliamentary group and Ali Alaswad a former Bahraini opposition MP, took place this afternoon.

It was prompted by a tweet, followed by a statement from UK Foreign Minister William Hague.

He tweeted:

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister confirmed the phone call:

Conor Burns MP, Chair of the UK All Parliamentary Group on Bahrain then tweeted to the Khalid Alkhalifa who quickly responded:

At this point Ali Alaswad, a resigned Bahraini MP, joined the discussion, questioning the Foreign Ministers commitment to ending violence:

After another tweet from Ali Alaswad, Khalid Alkhalifa came back complaining that people are being unfair on Bahrain:

To this Ali Alaswad questioned the true nature of Bahrain’s constitution:

#UK @ @ #Bahrain needs a constitution of the people,for the people &by the people.We are ready to help with this
@am_aswad
Ali Alaswad

He also added:

@ @ Did the constitution protect Mr.Salah killed last night? Our constitution only protects #Bahrain government
@am_aswad
Ali Alaswad
@ @ more force @ use@refusal for dialogue,d more friends @ will abandon you.This is fair
@am_aswad
Ali Alaswad

In response to the need for political reform Conor Burns said this:

@ @ I agree. And that is the path we urge the Government to take. And steps are being taken as Mr Cameron said
@Conor_BurnsMP
Conor Burns MP

Clearly rattled by Ali Alaswad’s tweets, Khalid Alkhalifa suggested Alaswad should return as an MP to Bahrain:

@ @ Ali, someone like you should be in parliament ,defending the rights of your people. Being outside is a loss to all
@khalidalkhalifa
Khalid Alkhalifa

Conor Burns MP tweeted his approval:

@ @ I totally agree and said as much when I met Ali. People like Ali need to be in the dialogue and part of solution
@Conor_BurnsMP
Conor Burns MP

But to this Ali Alaswad made very clear his position:

@ @ I will stand in #bahrain parliament when I am proud to say this is a parliament that works for it's people
@am_aswad
Ali Alaswad
@ @ I became an MP to serve my people. Our current parliament only serves the govt. I cannot be part of this.Thx
@am_aswad
Ali Alaswad

He then tweeted how all sides should work together with Conor Burns MP agreeing fully.

Finally Ali Alaswad put the call out for dialogue to move from Twitter to the real world:

@ I appreciate your engagement with me on Twitter. I hope now we can engage in the real world to move #bahrain to #democracy
@am_aswad
Ali Alaswad

So it would seem a consensus between Government and Opposition is possible, if not only via Twitter. The task is now to transform this into a meaningful dialogue that will take the country forward to a democratic future. More work from The Foreign Office will be needed to make this a reality.

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