Manama's Supreme Defence Council calls for a need "to end regional conflicts and disputes by peaceful means" as GCC nations prepare for crucial January 5 summit in Saudi Arabia.

General view of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on May 30, 2019.
General view of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on May 30, 2019. (Reuters)

Bahrain has called for an end to regional disputes, the latest statement suggesting a rift between Qatar and four countries could ease ahead of a Gulf summit next month.

Manama's Supreme Defence Council, led by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, convened on Wednesday and declared a need "to end regional conflicts and disputes by peaceful means", according to the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA).

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt cut ties with and initiated an economic blockade against Qatar in June 2017, saying it was too close to Iran and funding militant movements, charges Doha denies.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – comprised of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar – will meet on January 5 in Saudi Arabia.

READ MORE: Gulf nations see progress towards settling Qatar blockade row

Riyadh summit 

The softened rhetoric surrounding the three-year dispute comes amid Riyadh-led efforts to resolve the crisis.

Earlier this month, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said a resolution was in sight, with the four governments behind the blockade "on board" and a final agreement expected soon.

Egypt and the UAE have since given their public support to the negotiations although diplomatic sources say the UAE has been reluctant to compromise.

Anwar Gargash, UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, said on Twitter on Wednesday "we look forward to a successful summit in Riyadh that strengthens the Gulf dialogue".

READ MORE: UAE sees 'seeds of progress' to resolve rift with Qatar

Qatar-Bahrain dispute

Qatar had a longstanding territorial dispute with Bahrain that was only resolved by the International Court of Justice in 2001.

Last month, two Bahraini boats breached Qatari territorial waters, Qatar's Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Bahrain insisted however that the two vessels, part of its coastguard fleet, had been wrongfully intercepted, adding that "the incident occurred in the territorial waters of the Kingdom of Bahrain".

On Sunday, Manama accused Doha of confiscating 47 Bahraini fishing boats, but in a cabinet meeting on Monday "the importance of direct bilateral negotiations with Qatar to reach a lasting agreement" on fishing activities, according to the BNA.

Doha calls for end to crisis 

Referring to the wider Gulf spat, Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said during an official visit to Moscow on Wednesday "no party from this crisis will emerge victorious".

"We will all emerge victorious only if a solution is found and trust is rebuilt," he said during a press conference alongside his Russian counterpart.

READ MORE: Why Gulf tensions are changing from hostility to rapprochement

Source: AFP