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Bahrain imposes entry visas on Qataris

Bahrain says it believes Qatar is fomenting unrest in the island kingdom by supporting protests
Bahrain's visa requirements will apply on Qatar nationals and residents from 10 November (Reuters)

Bahrain said on Tuesday it would impose entry visas on Qatar nationals and residents in what it called a security measure.

"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 10 November.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut diplomatic, transport and trade ties with Qatar in June, accusing it of financing militant groups. Doha denies the allegations and says the boycott is an attempt to rein in its support for reform.

Ambassador Ali Khalfan al-Mansouri, Qatar's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva, said the visa requirements "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 says it believes that 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 Doha should have its GCC membership suspended.

Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has accused the countries imposing the blockade of seeking to topple his government.

"They want a regime change. It's... so obvious," he told CBS on Sunday.

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