Bahrain imposes visas on Qatar visitors

DUBAI: Bahrain has decided to impose visas on travellers from Qatar, which is embroiled in a diplomatic crisis with its Arab neighbours, Bahraini state media reported Tuesday.

Under Gulf Cooperation Council agreements, citizens of countries in the six-state bloc, including both Bahrain and Qatar, can visit other GCC countries without visas.

But Bahrain’s King Sheikh Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa on Tuesday ordered the new rules and urged authorities to strengthen security measures in the tiny Gulf kingdom, the official BNA news agency said.

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister on Monday said Qatar’s GCC membership should be suspended until it accepts the demands of its neighbours.

King Hamad also accused Qatar the same day of undermining the security of other GCC member states.

“So long as Qatar continues on this path, Bahrain will not attend any Gulf summit or meeting in the presence of Qatar unless it rectifies its policy and accepts the demands” of the Saudi-led bloc, he said.

GCC members Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and non-member Egypt on June 5 severed ties with Qatar over accusations of supporting extremism and being too close to Shiite rival Iran, charges Doha has denied.

GCC leaders are scheduled to meet before the end of the year, but the months-long crisis could see the bloc’s annual meeting postponed or cancelled.

The GCC also includes Oman and Kuwait. — AFP

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