The invitation comes after news of Doha declining to respond to a previous invitation which it said was not sent per protocol but rather through the media.
The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Regional and GCC Affairs Ambassador Waheed Mubarak Sayyar delivered a message from Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani to Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.
This was the first official Bahraini visit of its kind to Qatar since the 41st GCC Summit in Saudi Arabia, which saw the end of the three-year-long Gulf crisis that was triggered by an illegal blockade on Doha by Manama, Riyadh, Cairo and Abu Dhabi.
The visit also comes amid escalations between the two countries that started before the GCC reconciliation and dragged on even after the signing of the accord.
In a previous invitation sent in January to Qatar, Bahrain invited the Gulf state to resolve pending issues between the two states. However, experts told Doha News that invitation was shunned by authorities in Doha because it was sent via the media, not officially.
“It clearly doesn’t seem to make sense to Qatari officials that, during escalations and ongoing attempts to taint Qatar as aggressive in the eyes of Bahraini society, that Doha would receive an invitation to send an official delegation for talks,” Dr. Majed Al-Ansari, Assistant Professor of Political Sociology at Qatar University, told Doha News.
Among the provocations by Manama include repeated breaches of territorial waters and airspace, as well as seizing 130 properties reportedly belonging to relatives of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Despite Bahrain’s provocations, the Gulf state accused Qatar of “obstructing the work of the “GCC”. But with the recent visit, it appears that there are signs of hope towards true Qatari-Bahraini reconciliation.