Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Bahrain Calls for Freezing Qatar's GCC Membership, Says Doha Must 'Correct Approach'

Bahrain Calls for Freezing Qatar's GCC Membership, Says Doha Must 'Correct Approach'

Monday, 30 October, 2017 - 17:00
Bahrain's Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa is greeted by Air Chief Marshal Chalit Pookpasuk in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo)

Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa chaired a national cabinet session on Monday during which he imposed visas on Qataris planing to visit Bahrain, reported Bahrain's official news agency (BNA).

Visas should be imposed on visitors from Qatar, from which the Kingdom of Bahrain has been the most affected by its policies that are clear to everyone, the King said, stressing that the tight security procedures will not be applied to visitors from other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries - Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The King also stressed that defeating and eliminating terrorism are a priority, adding that the Kingdom of Bahrain will remain an oasis of security and stability, and will confront every cowardly action aimed at destabilizing its security and undermining its stability with firmness and force, a post-session statement by the Cabinet Secretary-General, Dr. Yasser bin Isa Al-Nasser, said.

King Hamad praised the kingdom’s openness to tourists and visitors and gave directives to the competent authorities to take measures that would prevent the misuse of the kingdom’s openness to harm its security and stability.

Measures include tightening entry and residence procedures in light of the current security requirements, including the imposition of visas in order to preserve the security and safety of the country, HM the King said.

King Hamad also said that Bahrain will not attend any summits or meetings attended by Qatar until the latter "corrects its approach".

The king's statement was the first of its kind to be issued by a Gulf leader since the ongoing crisis in inter-Arab relations -- pitting Qatar against a five-nation Arab bloc led by Saudi Arabia -- began five months ago.

"Qatar has shown that it does not respect the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)'s founding charter and continues to implement policies that threaten the security of GCC member states," the statement read.

“It is time to take firm action against those who are abroad,” he added.

This comes a day after Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa tweeted “the right step to maintain GCC is to freeze Qatar’s membership” on Sunday.

FM Khalifa tweeted: “Bahrain will not attend a summit and sit with Qatar, which is nearing Iran day after day and preparing foreign forces, which are dangerous steps for the security of the GCC countries.”

Bahrain believes Qatar is fomenting unrest in the island kingdom by supporting protests and even sporadic shooting and bombing attacks aimed at security forces.

Editor Picks