• GCC Secretary-General Jassem Mohamed Albudaiwi congratulated Bahrain and Qatar for reaching the decision to restore their ties
  • Saudi Arabia also issued a statement congratulating both nations
  • The decision "stems from the mutual desire to develop bilateral relations and enhance GCC integration and unity," said the Qatar Foreign Ministry

Bahrain and Qatar have announced their decision to restore their diplomatic relations. The announcement came following a meeting between the delegations of the two Gulf nations at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) headquarters in Riyadh on Wednesday.

"It was decided to resume diplomatic relations between the two countries, in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter and the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961," Qatar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in a press release.

"The two sides confirmed that this decision stems from the mutual desire to develop bilateral relations and enhance GCC integration and unity in accordance with the objectives of the GCC Statute, and respect for the principles of equality between states, national sovereignty and independence, territorial integrity, and good neighborliness," the ministry added.

The resumption of relations comes more than two years after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE lifted the three-year embargo on Qatar, which was imposed in 2017 as the GCC nations, including Bahrain, went up against the country's support for Islamist groups that had taken over some countries following the 2011 Arab Spring protests. Of the four Arab nations that severed ties with the country, only Bahrain refused to rebuild ties and restore trade links with Qatar in 2021.

Following the re-establishment of their relations, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, celebrated the agreement and stressed that it's an "important step towards supporting the process of joint Gulf action for a brighter future of the GCC states." He also wished Bahrain and Qatar prosperity and development.

GCC Secretary-General Jassem Mohamed Albudaiwi also reaffirmed the GCC's oneness and congratulated Bahrain and Qatar for reaching the decision. "The 'Sultan Qaboos and Sheikh Sabah Summit' affirmed the keenness of Their Majesties and Highnesses the leaders—may God protect and preserve them—on the future, entity, and continuity of the Cooperation Council. As an embodiment of that, we witness today and congratulate the return of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the State of Qatar. Our Gulf will always be one and our people one," he wrote on Twitter.

Saudi Arabia, which led the efforts to restore the Bahraini-Qatari ties, also celebrated the decision. In a statement, the country's Foreign Affairs Ministry applauded the decision, saying it "affirms the robustness of relations among members of the GCC." The ministry added that the resumption of their relations "advances joint Gulf action that achieves the aspirations of the region's states and peoples."

Under pressure from international unions, Qatar has dismantled most of the 'kafala' employment system that meant labourers could not change jobs nor even leave the country