Qatar, Bahrain Officials Meet amid Strain in Ties

Published May 22nd, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Senior officials from Bahrain and Qatar held talks late Sunday over their countries' long-standing territorial dispute, the first reported meeting since fresh tensions emerged between the two Gulf Arab states, Reuters reported Monday.  

It added that Qatar's crown prince Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani met Bahrain's Prime Minister Khalifa bin Sulman al-Khalifa in Sanaa on the sidelines of unity celebrations in Yemen.  

The two discussed mutual relations and cooperation, added Reuters.  

The two Gulf officials also held separate talks in Sanaa with crown prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, which intervened in 1986 when Qatar and Bahrain went to the brink of war over the territorial dispute.  

The fresh strain in relations sparked calls by other Gulf Arab states on Bahrain and Qatar to exercise restraint and not escalate the row in the region, said Reuters.  

Bahrain said on Friday it was suspending talks with Qatar on their territorial dispute over the Hawar islands because Qatar failed to respond to its proposals to resolve the matter.  

Qatar said on Sunday it was puzzled by Bahrain's decision to halt talks on the row and hoped hearings which start on May 29th by the International Court of Justice at The Hague into the case would not further harm mutual relations, Reuters said. 

Meanwhile, Bahrain denied Sunday a newspaper report that it might withdraw from the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), said the English daily Bahrain Tribune, quoting a Bahraini official.  

Unnamed sources told the daily that although Bahrain was hoping for a more effective GCC role in working for brotherly solutions to the dispute, in line with its objectives, it does not consider a withdrawal.  

A Gulf paper wrote on Saturday that a Bahraini official hinted that Manama could pull out of the six-nation GCC. 

Bahrain said that it considers the Council an irrevocable option and that it has always implemented its decisions promptly, which reflects the country’s full commitment to the Gulf entity, added the daily. 

The sources told the newspaper, that “Bahrain was grateful to the sisterly states for their full comprehension of the Bahraini position.” – (Several Sources) 

 

 

 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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