In a significant development towards regional stability, Qatar and Bahrain have decided to resume their diplomatic ties more than two years after the Arab boycott of Doha was lifted. Both countries’ state news agencies confirmed the decision on Wednesday, marking the latest move in a broader trend of resolving disputes in the region.
Bahrain and Qatar relations
The restoration of diplomatic ties between Qatar and Bahrain follows the end of a three-and-a-half-year boycott of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt in January 2021. Although the other three countries re-established travel and trade links with Doha in 2021, Bahrain had remained an exception until now.
The decision was made during the second meeting of the Bahraini-Qatari Follow-up Committee at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) General Secretariat headquarters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In separate statements, the two countries emphasized their commitment to working together moving forward.
This development comes after Bahrain’s Crown Prince spoke with Qatar’s Emir by telephone in January, signaling a willingness to mend relations between the two Gulf states. The primary disagreement that led to the severing of ties in 2017 was Qatar’s support for Islamist movements, which were considered a threat by its Arab neighbors, and its close ties with Iran and Turkey.
In a further sign of regional stabilization, Saudi Arabia welcomed Syria’s foreign minister on Wednesday, indicating that the Arab League may be ready to reinstate Damascus. Syria’s membership was suspended more than a decade ago following President Bashar Assad’s brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protests.
Additionally, last month, Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to restore diplomatic ties that were severed in 2016, with China acting as the mediator. Bahrain’s dispute with Qatar focused primarily on the latter’s relationship with Iran and disputes along their maritime border.
The restoration of ties between Qatar and Bahrain is a positive step in a series of ongoing efforts to resolve regional disputes, including those between Iran and Saudi Arabia. These developments suggest that stability and cooperation may be on the rise in the region, offering hope for a more peaceful future.