Bahrain opposition says government must quit

Bahrain's main Shiite opposition group said on Saturday that the government must resign and the army pull off the streets of the capital before it will take up an offer of dialogue from the crown prince.
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Updated on Feb 19, 2011 02:41 PM IST
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AFP | By, Manama

Bahrain's main Shiite opposition group said on Saturday that the government must resign and the army pull off the streets of the capital before it will take up an offer of dialogue from the crown prince.

"To consider dialogue, the government must resign and the army should withdraw from the streets" of Manama, said Abdul Jalil Khalil Ibrahim, parliamentary leader of the Islamic National Accord Association (Al-Wefaq), the largest Shiite opposition bloc.

"What we're seeing now is not the language of dialogue but the language of force," he said, referring to the government's crackdown on protesters yesterday in which he said 95 people were wounded, three of them "clinically dead".

US President Barack Obama condemned the violence in a phone conversation with King Hamad, a key regional ally of Washington.

The monarch's offer of dialogue "is not serious," said the INAA's top MP, urging the authorities to take "serious and sincere measures that meet the requirements of the current situation".

"The situation is complicated and I fear it has run out of control," warned Ibrahim, whose group -- which holds 18 of the 40 seats in parliament -- has pulled out in protest.

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