MANAMA, Bahrain, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Bahrain's king, in a keynote address to Parliament, praised the emerging role of women in the government and thanked the GCC for its help during an uprising.
King Hamid al-Khalifa, speaking at the opening session of Parliament, welcomed the inclusion of new female members to the assembly.
He said the three new female members -- Somaya al-Jowder, Ebtisam Hijris and Sawsan Taqawi -- now stand beside Latifa al-Gaoud, the first woman elected MP in Bahrain, as an example of the perseverance of the Bahraini people.
He also offered praise for members of the Gulf Cooperation Council who provided security assistance to his country as it struggled to control the violence during a Shiite uprising this year against the country's minority Sunni leadership.
"The strength of the GCC is rooted in cohesion of its people and leaders," the government declared in a statement.
Bahrain in early July started a dialogue process meant to examine possible improvements in the political structure.
Several Bahraini doctors and nurses were given prison sentences ranging from 5-15 years for spreading "stories and lies" and for trying to topple the regime during the country's failed uprising early this year. Bahrain's attorney general said last week, however, that they would be retried before a civilian court.