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Bahrain imposes entry visas on Qatar nationals, residents

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Bahrain imposes entry visas on Qatar nationals, residents

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CAIRO (Reuters) – Bahrain said on Tuesday it would impose entry visas on Qatar nationals and residents in what it called a security measure. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut diplomatic, transport and trade ties with Qatar in June, accusing it of financing terrorism. Doha denies that and says the boycott is an attempt to rein in its support for reform. “The new measures aim at preventing harming the security and stability of the kingdom of Bahrain particularly in light of the latest repercussions of the crisis with Qatar,” said a statement from the official Bahraini news agency BNA. Citizens from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council countries are supposed to be able to travel within the GCC carrying only an identity card. Bahrain’s visa requirements will apply from Nov. 10. Ambassador Ali Khalfan Al Mansouri, Qatar’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva, said the visas “constitute a flagrant violation of the agreements and resolutions of the Gulf Cooperation Council.” “These measures are completely contrary to the statements of officials of the siege countries not to harm the Qatari citizen when taking any steps in the context of this crisis,” Mansouri told the Qatari state news agency. Bahrain believes Qatar is fomenting unrest in the island kingdom by supporting protests and even sporadic shooting and bombing attacks against security forces. Bahrain’s foreign minister said on Sunday his country would not attend December’s GCC summit if Qatar does not change its policies, and that Qatar should have its GCC membership suspended.

(Reporting by Ali Abdelaty in Cairo and; Eric Knecht in Doha; Writing by Reem Shamseddine; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
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