Bahrain slams Qatar’s boat interception

Cairo: Bahrain has condemned the Qatari coastguard’s interception of two Bahraini boats, asserting that the incident took place in its territorial waters.

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On Wednesday, three Qatari coastguard vessels intercepted two Bahraini boats during their return from an exercise, the Bahraini Interior Ministry said.

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The Qatari patrols did not carry any flag as dictated by international norms while the Bahraini boats carried the Bahraini flag and the Interior Ministry’s emblem, it added. The ministry hailed what it described as the “level of discipline, professionalism and self-restraint” shown by captains of the two Bahraini boats in handling the incident against the “hostile behaviour” shown by the Qatari side.

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Over the past 10 years, Qatar has intercepted around 650 boats and 2,153 people in violation of a situation that persisted for over 200 years in pearl catching and fishing, the ministry said.

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“The Interior Ministry expresses its denunciation of the usual Qatari practices towards the Bahraini boats and fishing vessels in this area over the past period,” the ministry said

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“The State of Qatar has continued such acts of holding Bahraini fishing boats for long durations, putting those aboard them on trial, a matter that has negatively affected the livelihoods of citizens,” it added.

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Bahrain and Qatar are members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. Bahrain and three other Arab countries have been boycotting Qatar since mid-2017 over the emirate’s support for terrorism.

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