Bahrain removes Qatar from travel ban list as diplomatic relations improve

Bahrain removes Qatar from travel ban list as diplomatic relations improve
Bahrain had initially placed Qatar on its travel ban list due to frosty relations between the countries as Manama was part of a group of governments - led by Saudi Arabia - to impose a blockade on Doha, which eventually came to end early last year.
2 min read
18 July, 2022
Qatari aircraft was prohibited from entering Bahraini airspace until January 2021 [Getty]

Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has lifted Qatar from its travel ban list, hours after King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa met with Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Jeddah, reported The Bahrain Mirror on Sunday.

The two met on the sidelines of the Jeddah Security and Development Summit, which was attended by GCC, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq leaders as well as Joe Biden, who was on his first trip to the Middle East as US president.

Bahrain also abolished visa requirements for Qataris wishing to travel to the country, hours ahead of the summit.

The lifting of the ban comes as ties between the GCC states appear to be warming following the end of the Gulf crisis, which saw Saudi Arabia and its allies impose a blockade on Qatar in 2017 that was deemed illegal by Doha.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain severed ties with Doha during the crisis, cutting all diplomatic, trade and transport ties, with Riyadh blocking Qatar’s only land crossing.

The four governments accused Qatar of financially supporting Islamist groups, and criticised its growing relations with Iran - accusations fervently denied by Doha.

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Manama had placed the tiny Gulf state on a 'travel warning' list in the wake of the blockade despite providing no official reason for the ban. Meanwhile, Bahraini citizens wishing to travel to Qatar needed to obtain special permission from the country's ministry of interior.

The embargo was subsequently ended in January 2021, following an agreement signed at the landmark GCC summit in Al-Ula.

Ties between the two countries remained strained as Doha accused Manama of violating its airspace and territorial waters during several incidents in December 2021.

Bahrain was the last Gulf country to open its airspace to Qatar following the end of the diplomatic crisis.