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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Bahrain ‘requests negotiations with Qatar over outstanding issues’

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The two countries have witnessed a series of escalations in recent weeks, the latest being the arrest of a Bahraini bodybuilder who trespassed into Qatari waters.

Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has “invited” Qatar for further negotiations over “outstanding” issues, the country’s state news agency reported on Monday.

According to the Bahraini News Agency, Manama’s foreign ministry sent an invitation to its counterpart in Doha to “send an official delegation as soon as possible” to proceed with talks that would specifically address issues that have not been settled between the two sides.

Moreover, the Bahraini foreign ministry said that the talks would also enable the two countries “to reach the goals” they “aspire to achieve for the benefit of the citizens” of both Gulf nations.

The letter, addressed to Qatar’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, stated that the discussions would enable the “implementation of what was stipulated in the Al-Ula Declaration”.

Read also: Bahraini bodybuilder arrested for breaching Qatar’s territorial waters

On Sunday, the Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that Qatar arrested its bodybuilding champion Sami Al-Haddad for breaching its territorial waters during a “fishing trip”.

The ministry called for the immediate release of the bodybuilder and his companions while also calling on Qatar “to stop attacking Bahraini fishermen at sea and unfairly arresting them”.

Also commenting on the incident in an interview with Sky News Arabia, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said he hoped the arrest was an “individual case”.

“I obviously saw the news and, sometimes when a crisis ends, especially if it was complicated and deep with many hard feelings, there will be residue which I hope will be handled rapidly. We are heading towards a positive path.”

People on social media have questioned the possible motives behind the arrest of the bodybuilder and his presence in Qatar’s territorial waters, especially after previous recorded breaches by Bahraini fishermen during the months of November and December.

The news comes almost a week after Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt signed the Al Ula Declaration which marked the end of the blockade that the quartet imposed on Doha in 2017.

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