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DUBAI, UAE – Bahrain’s crown prince spoke with Qatar’s emir by telephone, the BNA state news agency reported late on Wednesday, January in a sign the two Gulf states could move towards repairing relations two years after an Arab boycott of Qatar was lifted.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt in January 2021 ended a 3-1/2-year embargo of Qatar but since then there have been no bilateral discussions between Doha and Manama to resolve differences.
BNA said that Bahrain’s crown prince and prime minister, Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, had in the call with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani “emphasized the importance of joint efforts to resolve all outstanding differences”.
“It was also agreed that officials from both countries will continue to communicate to achieve common goals,” BNA said.
The conversation came after Qatar’s emir and Bahrain’s king attended a small Arab summit hosted by the UAE’s president in Abu Dhabi last week that was also attended by the rulers of Oman, Jordan, and Egypt.
The row that led the quartet cutting all ties with Qatar in 2017 centered around its support for Islamist movements deemed a threat by Arab neighbors and its ties with Shi’ite Muslim power Iran and Turkey.
The four states also had their own disagreements with Qatar.
Regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia has led efforts to rebuild ties with Qatar and, along with Egypt, re-established diplomatic relations. The UAE and Bahrain have yet to do so.
All but Bahrain restored travel and trade links in 2021.
As they focus on economic priorities, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have moved to improve ties with Turkey and engage with regional foe Iran to try to manage tensions.
Bahrain, a Sunni Muslim-ruled monarchy with a restive Shi’ite population, has deep unease over Qatar’s relations with Iran. Bahrain also has territorial disputes with Qatar.