Qatar and Bahrain to Restore Relations and End Years-Long Dispute | Political news
Both Qatar and Bahrain say they want to “strengthen the unity and integration of the Gulf” after years of discord.
Qatar and Bahrain are in the process of resolving a conflict of several years and the re-establishment of diplomatic relations.
Delegates from the two countries met on Wednesday at the headquarters of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) general secretariat in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, the countries’ foreign ministries said in separate statements.
The two sides met to “strengthen the unity and integration of the Gulf in accordance with the GCC Charter”, Qatar’s foreign ministry said in its statement.
Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, Ahmed bin Hassan al-Hammadi, met with the Undersecretary for Political Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain, Sheikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, to discuss the resolution of a feud that dates back to 2017.
That year, Bahrain, along with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, imposed a diplomatic blockade on Qatar complaints he was too close to Iran and supported extremist groups, allegations that Doha has always strongly denied.
Last January, the Crown Prince of Bahrain and the Emir of Qatar got a phone call to discuss their differences, in a move that foreshadowed the thawing of relations between the two.
The four Arab countries had banned Qatari planes and ships from using their airspace and waters, and cut trade ties. In 2021, however, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt have resumed these ties, although the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have not yet opened their respective embassies.
Bahrain’s dispute with Qatar mainly centered on the latter’s relationship with Iran and issues along their maritime border.
Restoring links is part of a number of other efforts to resolve regional disputes, including between Iran and Saudi Arabia.