Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Doha has said it will no longer offer Qatari citizenship to citizens of other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states in a bid to contain a diplomatic row with neighbor states who accuse it of threatening their national security.
In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, a senior GCC diplomat who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media, said that Qatar had pledged to stop granting citizenship to GCC nationals during a meeting of GCC foreign ministers in Jeddah earlier this week. The Gulf diplomat added that Doha had also pledged to close its doors to members of outlawed radical Islamist groups.
Bahrain last week accused Qatar of threatening its national security by “luring” its citizens to take Qatari citizenship, state news agency BNA reported.
Qatar has fallen out with other GCC countries over its regional policy which its neighbors say is disruptive and a threat to Gulf security. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE recalled their ambassadors from Doha in March in order to “protect their security and stability.” A joint statement said that Qatar had failed to commit to the principles of the GCC.
According to the diplomat, Wednesday’s meeting set a strict legal framework regulating foreign policy and ties among GCC member states. This included a code aimed at unifying the political and security interests of the GCC states. Any breach of the code may incur penalties affecting the level of diplomatic representation.
Although he acknowledged Doha’s overtures, the official said that the crisis with Qatar will continue unless it amends its media policy which runs against the interests of the GCC states.