Bahrain foreign ministry says invitations sent ‘in an attempt to move forward in strengthening the process of joint Gulf cooperation’.
Bahrain’s foreign ministry said it has sent two invitations to Qatar asking for its neighbouring Gulf state to send a delegation for bilateral talks in order to “settle outstanding issues”.
Quoting the Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, the foreign ministry on Tuesday “affirmed that the Kingdom of Bahrain hopes that the State of Qatar will take into account in its foreign policy the unity of the Gulf”.
According to the press release, Bahrain sent the invitations “in an attempt to move forward in strengthening the process of joint Gulf cooperation”.
“The Minister further highlighted that unity among the member states of the GCC is a popular demand for all its people, which was stipulated in the Al-Ula summit statement.”
In February, Bahrain said it had sent an initial invitation to Qatar the previous month but there had been no response.
According to a report by Doha News, Qatar delayed its response because the invite was carried through a “media announcement”, GCC Secretary-General Nayef Falah Mubarak al-Hajraf had told Bahraini foreign minister al-Zayani.
— وزارة الخارجية 🇧🇭 (@bahdiplomatic) June 22, 2021
Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, broke off diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar in June 2017 over claims it was too close to Iran and backed hardline groups, allegations Qatar has always firmly denied.
But earlier this year, the blockading countries agreed to restore ties in a summit hosted by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the desert city of al-Ula, following a flurry of diplomatic activity by the administration of former US President Donald Trump.
Qatar, which is hosting the football World Cup next year, emerged from the regional spat largely unscathed and resolute in the face of the assault.
It rejected the quartet’s demands, which included that it shut down the Al Jazeera Media Network and expel a small contingency of Turkish troops from its territory.
Since then, Riyadh and Cairo have acted to rebuild ties with Doha and all but Bahrain have restored trade and travel links with Doha.
A month prior to the signing of the al-Ula declaration, Qatar reported airspace violations by four Bahraini fighter jets to the United Nations Security Council and the secretary-general of the United Nations.
The letter expressed Qatar’s strong condemnation of actions which it perceived as a violation of its sovereignty and regional security, adding that these violations were blatantly inconsistent with Bahrain’s obligations under international law.