Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan has welcomed a reduction in tensions between Qatar and its neighbours in the Arabian Gulf, with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi holding talks over the telephone with his counterparts in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, the foreign ministry says.
Qureshi spoke with Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani on Thursday.
“Foreign Minister Qureshi appreciated the positive developments that led to a successful [Gulf Cooperation Council] Summit in al-Ula, Saudi Arabia,” said a statement on the call with the Qatari foreign minister.
“He hoped that the spirit of cooperation in the GCC Summit will augur well for enhanced confidence and cooperation among the countries of the organisation.”
On Monday, Saudi Arabia announced a restoration of ties with northern neighbour Qatar, after a three-and-a-half year diplomatic spat which saw the kingdom and its allies – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt – cut diplomatic and trade ties and impose a land, sea and air blockade on the Gulf state.
A day later, the four countries agreed to restore full diplomatic and trade ties with Doha at a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in al-Ula in Saudi Arabia.
Qatar was accused three years ago by the blockading nations of supporting “terrorism” and being too close to its regional rival, Iran. Doha has consistently denied the charges.
Among the demands of the quartet had been for Qatar to end its alleged support for the Muslim Brotherhood transnational political party, close the Al Jazeera media network, downgrade diplomatic ties with Iran and shut a Turkish military base on Qatari soil.
Doha refused to implement the demands at the time and none appears to have been implemented as part of the rapprochement this week.
Qatar has agreed to freeze a series of lawsuits instituted at international fora against the blockading states.
On Thursday, the UAE said it could resume trade and travel links with Doha as early as next week but that a resumption of diplomatic ties would require “rebuilding trust”.
Throughout the crisis, which saw Qatar forced to rely on food and other imports from Turkey, Iran and other allies via sea and air, Pakistan – a close Saudi Arabian ally that also enjoys warm relations with Qatar – said it would act as a neutral party.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and other officials often offered to mediate between the Gulf neighbours, although it is unclear if that offer was ever meaningfully taken up.