Riyadh, 10 February 2023 (TDI): The Secretariat General of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) headquarters hosted a meeting between the delegations of the States of Qatar and Bahrain.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs led the delegation representing the State of Qatar.

In contrast, Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, was head of the Kingdom of Bahrain panel.

The discussion focused on creating the necessary mechanisms and processes to chart the course for bilateral committee-level negotiations under the Al Ula statement.

It was issued by the Al Ula Summit in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on January 5, 2021, to resolve the particular outstanding files between them.

The two sides also stressed the importance of cooperating with both countries to strengthen their fraternal relations, achieve their peoples’ security, stability, and development goals, and support GCC joint action.

Gulf Cooperation Council – Qatar Bahrain Crisis

The GCC is a political and economic alliance of six Persian Gulf Arab states, including Bahrain and Qatar. The GCC was founded in 1981 to promote regional cooperation and coordinate economic, political, and security policies among its member states.

Bahrain and Qatar, both GCC members, have long had close relations. Bahrain criticizes Qatar for supporting terrorism and interfering in its internal affairs. In June 2017, Bahrain and other Gulf states imposed a political and economic blockade on Qatar.

The blockade disrupted trade and investment. It forced people to adopt other exchange methods, negatively impacting both economies.

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The GCC Secretary-General, Abdullatif Al Zayani, tried to mediate between the two countries early in the blockade but failed. Since the GCC has struggled to resolve the conflict, it could not bring both sides to the table.

The blockade also affected the international community. The US and EU asked for a resolution. As a major oil producer and global economy player, the Gulf region raised concerns about the blockade’s impact on regional stability and the global economy.

Al Ula Statement

The Al Ula Statement was released after the Al Ula Summit in Saudi Arabia on January 5, 2021. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders attended the summit to promote reconciliation and cooperation.

The Al Ula Statement ended a years-long dispute between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, and Qatar. The statement was a significant step towards stopping the four countries’ political and economic blockade of Qatar.

The statement also stressed the importance of GCC unity and cooperation in the economy, security, and culture. Al Ula’s statement highlights:

  • The statement reaffirmed the participating nations’ commitment to good neighborliness, non-interference in other nation’s internal affairs, and sovereignty and territorial integrity.
  • Leaders agreed to end the dispute and restore diplomatic, trade, and transportation ties with Qatar.
  • The statement stressed Arab unity and supported Arab League-African Union cooperation.
  • Leaders pledged to collaborate on terrorism, extremism, and illegal immigration.
  • The three-year Gulf diplomatic crisis ended with the Al Ula statement. It helped restore regional stability and cooperation.