Manama Qatar’s offer of nationality to members of some Bahraini families affects Bahrain’s security and national interests, the Undersecretary of Nationality, Passport and Residence Affairs (NPRA) has said.
“We are confident that Qatar, a brotherly neighbour with Bahrain, will reconsider its position on this matter because naturalising Bahrainis negatively affects the security situation and the high national interests of Bahrain,” Shaikh Rashid Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa said.
The senior official also warned that the naturalisation offer that included various privileges in Qatar, did not take into consideration the laws of Bahrain, calling upon all concerned Bahraini citizens to heed their legal situation and comply with the law on citizenship.
Bahrainis are urged to avoid penalties for violating the nationality law of 1963 and its recent amendments that regulate obtaining foreign nationalities and stipulate the negative consequences of breaking the law, he said.
“Accepting Qatar’s offer will negatively affect the legal position of those involved,” he said.
The Undersecretary added that the agreements of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) allowed Gulf nationals to enjoy privileges, including the right to work, own property and move between countries of the region.
“Therefore, obtaining the nationality of any other GCC countries is not necessary.”
In his statement, Shaikh Rashid stressed the importance of the GCC agreement in the Saudi capital Riyadh on April 17 not to interfere in the internal affairs of any Gulf country in order to protect the security of the region.
“Bahrain cooperates with Qatar and other Gulf countries to comply with the Riyadh Agreement and greatly values the brotherly ties between Bahrain and Qatar,” he said.
He expressed Bahrain’s resolve to work in cooperation with other GCC countries to settle this controversial issue in line with the Riyadh Agreement and the fraternal relations between Bahrain and Qatar.
Bahrain has complained that Qatar was luring several of its citizens from specific Arab families to move to Doha where they are given the Qatari nationality and several lucrative privileges.
The Bahraini complaint was among many grievances expressed by Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates against Qatar which they accused of failing to comply with GCC agreements not to interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries.
The three countries on March 5 pulled out their ambassadors and insisted they would not reinstate them until Qatar changed its attitudes and adhered fully to the multilateral agreements.
Moves to contain the unprecedented crisis within the GCC resulted in the Riyadh agreement on April 17 and an ad-hoc committee was set up to look into the grievances and the steps taken to address them.
Reports of a quick breakthrough were dismissed as unrealistic and Saudi Arabia said that positions would not be altered and ambassadors would not be reinstated until practical measures were taken on the ground.
A report in the London-based Al Arab on Thursday said that the GCC foreign ministers would next week discuss at their meeting in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah the reports of the committee on the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement.
The daily, quoting sources it did not identify, expected the announcement of a new decision following this week’s visit by Prince Mitab Bin Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, the Saudi Minister of National Guard, to Qatar, the first by a Saudi official since the three ambassadors were pulled out more than five months ago.
The Saudi visit occurred two days after a visit by General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and several days after visits by Prince Muqrin Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Deputy Crown Prince and Second Deputy Premier, to all GCC countries, except Qatar.
On July 22, Qatar’s Emir Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani visited Saudi Arabia where he was received by King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz.