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Bahrain to boycott GCC summits attended by Qatar

Bahrain is imposing visas on Qatari nationals planning to visit the kingdom

King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa
Image Credit: Supplied
King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa

Manama: Bahrain will not attend any Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit or meeting if Qatar is attending unless Doha corrects its approach, recovers its senses and responds to the demands of the countries that long suffered from it, King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa said on Monday.

The king who was chairing the weekly cabinet session ordered a study of the necessary measures that needed to be taken at this stage, the cabinet secretary-general said in a post session statement.

GCC members Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates have been locked in a dispute with fellow GCC member Qatar since June 5 after they severed their relations with Doha, accusing it of supporting extremists and funding terrorism. Kuwait and Oman are the two other member countries of the GCC established in 1981.

No breakthrough has been achieved by the mediation efforts exerted by Kuwait, the host of the next GCC summit in December.

Amid mounting speculation about the summit fate and whether it would be postponed, cancelled or shifted to a different venue, Bahrain became the first country to formally announce that it would not be there if Qatar attended.

Bahrain is keen on a steady, cohesive and strong progress of the GCC and time has come to take firmer action towards those who seek to empower themselves with assistance from abroad to threaten the security and safety of their brothers, King Hamad said at the cabinet session.

Constructive meetings and summits cannot be held in the presence of those who do not wish well for the GCC and stall its progress, the monarch added as he referred to regional and international challenges targeting the security and stability of the region and interference in domestic affairs.

Qatar has proved today that it does not respect the charters, treaties and relations that established the GCC and has instead implemented policies targeting the security of GCC member states, he said.

Bahrain imposes visas on Qatari nationals

Manama: Bahrain is imposing visas on Qatari nationals planning to visit the kingdom following years of allowing citizens from the peninsular country to enter Bahrain by showing their identity cards.

The decision was attributed to the need to take measures to ensure that Bahrain’s openness on tourism and visits is not abused to target its security and stability.

King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa who chaired the weekly cabinet session on Monday ordered the imposition of visas as part of strengthening the process to enter and live in Bahrain in light of the prevailing security challenges and to protect the kingdom’s security and stability.

The visa will not be imposed on the other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates whose citizens will continue to enter Bahrain with their IDs.

Bahrain has suffered the most from the policies adopted by Qatar, King Hamad stressed.

Addressing and defeating terrorism is a priority, and the Kingdom of Bahrain will remain an oasis of security and stability and will resolutely and forcefully confront every cowardly act aimed at undermining its security and stability, King Hamad said.