Manama and Abu Dhabi, Asharq Al-Awsat—Qatar has stopped offering Bahraini nationals Qatari citizenship, Bahraini Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Bin Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Khalifa said on Tuesday, in what may mark the end of a long-running dispute between the two states.
Sheikh Rashid said the understanding reached between the two countries on the issue reflected their “mutual respect,” and would help the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) remain united.
Controversy erupted earlier in the year after Doha allegedly began offering Qatari citizenship to Bahraini nationals from prominent Sunni families, many of them members of the military and security services, according to sources who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat in September.
Manama issued three warnings to Doha in August and September over the issue, and passed a law in August imposing fines on Bahraini citizens who took on the nationalities of other countries without the approval of the authorities.
Bahraini citizens are permitted to have dual nationalities, but only after seeking permission from the minister of the interior.
Sources speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat in September said the issue was one of the main sticking points in the months-long dispute within the GCC, which saw Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain accuse Qatar of interfering in their internal affairs.
The dispute was resolved on Sunday following an emergency meeting in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, following efforts to mediate the diplomatic row by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Sheikh Rashid praised the work of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, in helping to resolve the dispute, saying it displayed the “importance of the role which GCC countries can play to bring about stability in the Arab world, especially during the unusual circumstances the region is currently experiencing.”
He added that these events “obligated us [GCC countries] to have a united outlook and to undertake concerted efforts” to ensure regional stability.
Meanwhile, King Abdullah received a message from the Ruler of Dubai and Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Gen. Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces—who both represented the UAE at Sunday’s meeting—thanking him, and the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al Sabah, for their mediation efforts.