Qatar and Bahrain to restore ties, end years-long dispute

Qatar and Bahrain are resolving a years-long dispute and restoring diplomatic ties.

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.

Both sides met to “enhance the Gulf unity and integration according to the GCC Charter”, Qatar’s foreign ministry said in its statement.

Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary-General Ahmed bin Hassan al-Hammadi met with Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Political Affairs Sheikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa to discuss resolving 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 over claims it was too close to Iran and backed hardline groups, allegations Doha has always firmly denied.

Back in January, Bahrain’s crown prince and the Qatari emir had a phone call to discuss their differences, in a move that foreshadowed thawing relations between the two.

The four Arab countries had banned Qatari planes and ships from using their airspace and waters, and cut trade links. In 2021, however, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt resumed these ties, although the UAE and Qatar have yet to open their respective embassies.

Bahrain’s dispute with Qatar centred mostly on the latter’s relationship with Iran and issues along their maritime border.

The restoration of ties comes amid a number of other efforts to resolve regional disputes, including between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Qatar and Bahrain both say they want to ‘enhance the Gulf unity and integration’ after years of discord.

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