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Bahraini minister accuses Qatar of not taking 'initiative' to end dispute

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Bahrain’s foreign minister accused Qatar on Thursday of not taking “any initiative” to solve its problems with Manama, two weeks after the countries signed an agreement to restore full diplomatic relations and end a rift of more than three years.

“Qatar didn’t show after the summit in al-Ula (Saudi Arabia) any initiative to solve pending problems with Bahrain,” said Abdullatif al-Zayani, according to a post by his ministry on Twitter.

The minister did not elaborate on the issues to be solved.

Alongside Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, Bahrain agreed earlier this month at a summit in the Saudi city of al-Ula, to restore full diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar.

The four countries abruptly cut ties with Qatar in 2017, saying it was too close to Iran and funding radical movements in the region, charges Doha staunchly denied.

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The four nations subsequently expelled Qataris residing in their countries and issued a list of 13 demands to end the blockade, including shuttering the Al Jazeera news network, ending Turkish military presence in Qatar and cutting diplomatic ties with Iran – all of which were turned down by Doha.

The deal to mend ties followed mediation efforts by the administration of former US President Donald Trump and Kuwait.

Diplomats and analysts said Saudi Arabia had been pushing for a deal, hoping it would show President Joe Biden – who took office on Wednesday – that Riyadh was open to dialogue. 

On the campaign trail, Biden said he would reassess the US’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and would take a harder line with the kingdom over issues including its human rights record and the Yemen war.

Zayani’s criticism comes in stark contrast to Saudi Arabia, with Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan giving an upbeat assessment of its current process in restoring ties with Qatar.

On Thursday, Prince Faisal told the Dubai-based al-Arabiya TV channel that the kingdom’s embassy in Doha should reopen “in days”.



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