Bahrainis were previously banned from travelling to Qatar.
Qatar has been removed from a list of countries that are banned for travel by Bahrain, local Bahrain Mirror reported, in what appears to be ongoing warming of ties between the two Gulf states months after the end of the GCC crisis.
The Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs removed the State of Qatar from a list on its ‘Travel Warning’ section, which had previously highlighted Qatar as a destination for which travel is prohibited.
This came hours after Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani met with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on the sidelines of the Jeddah summit in Saudi Arabia, in the first such high-profile meeting of its kind since the regional dispute.
The 2017 diplomatic crisis was triggered when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, imposing an illegal land, air and sea blockade on the country.
The quartet claimed the blockade was in response to Qatar’s alleged support for terrorism, though Doha repeatedly and vehemently rejected those claims as baseless.
While ties have since resumed between Qatar and some members of the quarter—Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE—its relations with Bahrain had appeared to remain cold.
However, the meeting between leaders of the two Gulf states suggests a warming of ties, with analysts noting this was a ‘step in the right direction’.
Hours ahead of the summit, Manama also abolished a visa requirement for Qataris wishing to enter its lands.
Under the update, announced by Bahraini authorities on Friday, “all” GCC nationals can enter the country with their ID’s, though it failed to make mention of a U-turn on restrictions targeting Qataris.
Before the latest entry policy change, all citizens of the bloc except Qatar were exempt from applying for a visa, per the Bahraini government’s portal—last updated in January.
While Bahrain’s civil aviation authority announced that it will open its airspace to Qatar in January last year, there are currently no updates regarding the resumption of direct flights between the two countries.
Both countries have yet to exchange ambassadors.