Dubai: Qatar has criticised a statement issued by Bahrain’s interior minister over the granting of its citizenship to Bahraini nationals.
In a report carried by Qatar News Agency (QNA) late on Wednesday, Qatar’s Director General of Public Security of Interior Ministry Major General Saad Bin Jassim Al Khulaifi “expressed regret over the statement issued by the minister of interior of the Kingdom of Bahrain.”
The Qatari official said that the statement “lacks precision and accuracy and is contrary to what has been agreed upon between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.”
Al Khulaifi said the statement was surprising and unreasonable and stressed that it was impossible that Qatar would lure Bahrain nationals to have Qatari citizenship, QNA reported.
He added that “Qatar was committed to the application of its own laws towards people of Qatari origin”, insisting that the practice was similar to those followed by all GCC states in this regard.
Qatari law allows for citizenship to be granted to those people the state deems to be of “Qatari origin”. Bahrain alleges that Qatar uses that provision to lure Sunni Bahrainis from their country to move to Qatar.
The Qatari official expressed surprise that the Bahraini statement was issued despite the challenges facing the region, which requires a unified stand in order to confront them and maintain the security and stability of all Gulf peoples .
However, Al Khualiafi said Qatar was keen on its fraternal ties with Bahrain and that such a keenness would keep Doha from responding to the statement.
He added that Qatar would “always remain committed to the values of brotherhood with Bahrain and that it would continue to support the GCC, particularly Bahrain whose stability represented Qatar’s own stability.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Bahrain’s Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa asked Qatar to stop granting the Qatari citizenship to Bahraini nationals.
The minister said there was a general resentment toward the Qatari policy of offering the Qatari citizenship to selected Bahrainis and asking them to give up their Bahrain citizenship considered a source of pride by all Bahrainis.
“Such a policy goes against the brotherly and cooperative spirit between the members of the GCC,” Shaikh Rashid said, referring to the regional alliance of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
“Bahrain continues to call for the Gulf citizenship and treats all GCC nationals according to this principle,” the minister said. “We are one family with one kinship, religion, language and common history. We also work together in accordance with the GCC and the Arab League.”
Shaikh Rashid said he regretted that the “illegal procedures taken by Qatar had led to the arrest the son of a Bahraini family.”
He was referring to Salah Mohammed Al Jalahma who was detained in Bahrain for obtaining the Qatari citizenship and illegally giving up his Bahraini nationality.
Al Jalahma was released after he submitted a written apology, in which he vowed to correct his legal status to comply with the Nationality Law.
“His family is among the most loyal and law abiding families of Bahrain known for their honourable history and impeccable reputation that do not normally lead to breaking the law and facing detention and several other measures,” the minister said. “If the unfriendly policies by Qatar and its attempts to entice Bahrainis to give up their nationality continue, Bahrain will be forced to take measures that it would not have otherwise chosen. We ask the State of Qatar to stop its inexcusable measures,” he said.