EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell last week welcomed the recent breakthroughs on normalisation of relations among members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, as well as with Israel, during a meeting in Brussels with Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties and transport links with Qatar in 2017 over what they called its support for Islamist terrorists, an accusation rejected by Doha.
Last January, the Gulf Cooperation Council members reached an agreement on the full normalisation of relations among themselves at an GCC summit in the Saudi city of Al-Ula. It was preceded by the decision of Saudi Arabia to reopen its borders with Qatar.
Borrell expressed the ‘’hope that these positive developments would create momentum towards de-escalation, dialogue and confidence-building in the Gulf, and regarding the Middle East Peace Process,’’ said a statement issued by the EU’s external service.
Last September, Bahrain followed the United Arab Emirates in normalizing its relations with Israel and signed the US-brokered Abraham Accords.
During their meeting, Borrell and the Bahraini minister discussed ways to enhance bilateral relations around areas of mutual interest.
They signed a cooperation arrangement between the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain. ‘’The Cooperation Arrangement provides an institutional framework for political dialogue and cooperation in areas such as trade, research and innovation, clean energy and renewables,’’ the EU said.
‘’Both sides look forward to holding the first EU-Bahrain Senior Officials Meeting later this year, where possibilities of bilateral cooperation will be further explored, including in support of Bahrain’s economic diversification efforts.’’