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Published: Thursday January 9, 2014 MYT 4:50:06 PM
Updated: Thursday January 9, 2014 MYT 4:51:08 PM

Bahrain suspends reconciliation talks with opposition groups

MANAMA (Reuters) - The Bahraini government has officially suspended reconciliation talks with opposition groups aimed at ending nearly three years of political deadlock in the U.S.-allied country.

State news agency BNA said on Wednesday evening that government representatives made the decision after opposition representatives failed to show up for a scheduled meeting in Manama.

The breakdown raises the prospect of more political instability on the Sunni-ruled island, home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, which has been hit by bouts of civil unrest since mass protests led by the majority Shi'ites in 2011.

The opposition stopped attending the meetings as long ago as September in protest at the arrest of Khalil al-Marzouq, a senior leader of the opposition group Al-Wefaq on charges of inciting terrorism.

A government spokesman was not immediately available to comment on Thursday.

(Reporting by Sami Aboudi; editing by Yara Bayoumy, John Stonestreet)

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