MANAMA (MEMO) – Bahrain’s foreign ministry said it has sent two invitations to Qatar asking for its neighboring Persian Gulf state to send a delegation for bilateral talks in order to “settle outstanding issues”.
Quoting the Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, the foreign ministry on Tuesday affirmed “Bahrain hopes that the State of Qatar will take into account in its foreign policy the unity of the Persian Gulf”.
According to the press release, Bahrain sent the invitations “in an attempt to move forward in strengthening the process of joint Persian Gulf cooperation”.
In February, Bahrain said it had sent an initial invitation to Qatar the previous month but there had been no response.
According to a report by Doha News, Qatar delayed its response because the invite was carried through a “media announcement”, GCC Secretary-General Nayef Falah Mubarak al-Hajraf had told Bahraini foreign minister al-Zayani.
Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, broke off diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar in June 2017 over claims backed hardline groups, an allegation Qatar has always firmly denied.
But earlier this year, the blockading countries agreed to restore ties in a summit hosted by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the desert city of al-Ula, following a flurry of diplomatic activity by the administration of former U.S. president Donald Trump.
Qatar, which is hosting the football World Cup next year, emerged from the regional spat largely unscathed and resolute in the face of the assault.
It rejected the quartet’s demands, which included that it shut down the Al Jazeera Media Network and expel a small contingency of Turkish troops from its territory.