‘Work underway’ to restore Qatar-UAE ties: Doha

Embassies are expected to reopen soon, two years after the UAE lifted a blockade on Qatar.

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, right, greats UAE president Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan
Qatar and the UAE are attempting to put their rift behind them and restore full diplomatic ties [File: Qatar Amiri Diwan via AP]

Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will restore diplomatic ties and reopen embassies soon, more than two years since the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt lifted a blockade on Qatar, ending a rift in diplomatic relations that began in 2017, according to Qatar’s International Media Office and media reports.

The office told Al Jazeera in a statement: “Work is underway between the Qatari and Emirati teams to reopen the respective embassies as soon as possible, exact date to be announced upon the finalization of the process.”

The Reuters news agency on Tuesday quoted a UAE official as saying that “the activation of diplomatic ties, which will include the reopening of embassies, is under process”, while an unnamed Gulf official told the agency that the embassies are expected to reopen by mid-June.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt became the first of the formerly blockading countries to reappoint ambassadors to Qatar in 2021, while the UAE had yet to make the move. Bahrain announced last week that it would restore diplomatic relations.

The Gulf official reportedly said that Qatari and Emirati officials had agreed to restore diplomatic ties late last month and that Abu Dhabi has informed Doha who its envoy would be, but that Qatar has yet to do the same.

The Qatari Foreign Ministry has yet to comment on the issue.

A flurry of diplomacy

Relations between Qatar and the UAE have improved since February last year, when Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, met with UAE ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on the sidelines of an event in Beijing for the first time since the blockade ended.

All of the countries that had imposed the blockade had restored trade and travel links with Qatar by early 2021 but, at the time, the UAE had suggested that resuming diplomatic ties would take longer.

The restoration of ties comes amid a flurry of diplomatic activity across the region as former rivals are engaging in dialogue and improving relations.

Major rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed last month to fully restore diplomatic ties broken in 2016 within two months in a deal brokered by China. Their foreign ministers met in Beijing earlier this month.

The agreement may have also quickened the pace of negotiations Yemen, where Tehran and Riyadh for years supported opposing sides of a bloody war. Saudi Arabia and Yemen’s Houthi rebels have now held a round of peace talks and exchanged hundreds of prisoners.

Meanwhile, several Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, have moved to end a decade-long isolation of Tehran-backed Syria, which had been boycotted amid a 12-year civil war.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan is expected in Syria for talks on Tuesday.

Source: Al Jazeera, Reuters