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Bahrain: Qatar naturalizing citizens threatens Manama

Manama says Doha is ‘luring’ its citizens to become Qataris, which would threaten the Gulf country’s national security

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Qatar naturalizing Bahraini citizens could affect Manama’s national interests and security, the official Bahrain News Agency reported the Interior Ministry as saying Wednesday.

A ministry official said the decision was taken by Qatar “to grant citizenship to members of certain Bahraini families after luring them with some advantages,” the BNA reported

Sheikh Rashid bin Khalifa al-Khalifa, Interior Ministry undersecretary for nationality, passports and residence affairs, “expressed his confidence that Qatar would reconsider this stance, saying that the naturalization of Bahrainis would affect Bahrain’s national security and vital interests negatively,” the BNA reported.

He did not detail which Bahrainis were being sought, but the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported Thursday that Qatar was seeking to naturalize Sunni Bahrainis.

While Bahrain has a Shiite majority, its royal family is Sunni. Naturalizing its Sunni citizens could affect its demographics.

Khalifa cited an agreement signed on April 17, 2014, of non-interference in the internal affairs of Gulf Cooperation Council member states.

He said Bahrain would work with other GCC countries to resolve the issue. The GCC is made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.