Qatar\'s Emir to Bahrain for Regional Summit Despite Territorial Dispute
Qatar's Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani will travel this weekend to Bahrain for a regional summit despite a simmering border conflict between the two Gulf Arab states, the royal cabinet announced Tuesday.
"Qatar will participate in the (December 30-31) Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit despite Bahrain's boycott of the council's summit when it was held in 1996 in Doha," the cabinet said, in a statement carried by the official QNA news agency.
"Qatar's participation in the GCC summit's work shows Doha's willingness to preserve the cooperation and build the cohesion among the council's countries and its peoples," the statement said.
Bahrain's Sheikh Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa al-Thani also refused to attend a November summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) because it was held in Doha.
Qatar and Bahrain have a longstanding feud over the Hawar Islands, which are under Bahraini control. The dispute has been brought before the International Court of Justice.
"Qatar is convinced that it has absolute sovereignty over the contested regions and islands and believes the fact the conflict is before international arbitration allows for a resolution of the contentions in accordance with the principles of international law and preserves the brotherly ties between the two countries and peoples," the cabinet said.
Also in dispute between the two countries are the Bahraini-controlled Fasht al-Dibel, which is potentially rich in oil and gas, and the Zubara strip on Qatar's west coast, claimed by Manama.
Qatar was represented at full level November 25 when GCC foreign ministers met in Manama to prepare for the Doha summit.
Besides Bahrain and Qatar, the GCC includes Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and regional giant Saudi Arabia.
Founded in 1981, the GCC has since last year held two annual summits. The last was held April 29 in Muscat -- DOHA (AFP)
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