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Bahrain 'disowns prime minister' after he exchanged Ramadan greetings with Qatar emir

Bahrain has disowned its long-serving prime minister after he phoned Qatar's emir to mark the start of the holy month of Ramadan.

Bahrain's state-run news agency said on Tuesday that Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa "did not represent the official position" of the kingdom.

The embarrassing turnaround came hours after the agency acknowledged the call between Prince Khalifa and Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

The report said the rare contact between Doha and one of the countries boycotting it was "restricted" to Ramadan greetings.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt have boycotted Doha over a political dispute since June 2017.

The Saudi-led bloc accuses Doha of supporting Islamic extremists and Iran - charges it denies.

Doha has described the ongoing embargo, which includes an air, sea and land blockade as a violation of international law.

 

The island nation of Bahrain off the coast of Saudi Arabia has served as a policy testing ground - for example with Gulf Arab nations warming ties to Israel.

On Monday, the UAE released a Qatari naval vessel and four sailors it seized nearly a week earlier.

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