UAE, Qatar reopen embassies after years-long diplomatic rift

Countries agree to restore diplomatic representation after 2017 boycott and blockade of Qatar.

President of United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani Emir of Qatar
UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan receives Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Abu Dhabi [Abdulla Al Neyadi/UAE Presidential Court via Reuters]

The United Arab Emirates and Qatar have announced the reopening of their embassies after a six-year break in ties.

The two countries issued statements on Monday saying the Qatari embassy in Abu Dhabi and a Qatari consulate in Dubai as well as an Emirati embassy in Doha had resumed operations.

The two countries’ foreign ministers spoke by phone to congratulate one another on the reopening of the diplomatic missions, Qatar’s announcement said.

“The United Arab Emirates and the State of Qatar announced the restoration of diplomatic representation between the two countries,” said a statement on the UAE’s official WAM news agency.

The UAE joined Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt in imposing a boycott and blockade of Qatar in 2017 over what they called Doha’s support for “terrorist” groups and becoming too close to Iran. Qatar has vehemently denied all the allegations.

Qatar weathered the unprecedented diplomatic crisis thanks to its gas riches and close ties with Turkey and Iran.

The boycott was officially lifted in January 2021. Late last year, Qatar welcomed visiting leaders from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE as it hosted the FIFA World Cup.

The United States on Monday welcomed Qatar and the United Arab Emirates’ resumption of diplomatic representation and reopening of embassies, with the US State Department calling it an “important step” in promoting regional stability.

Easing Gulf rivalries

Turkey, which had thrown its weight behind Qatar during the crisis, has since mended ties with rival Gulf countries, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The reopening of the diplomatic missions comes at a time of easing Gulf rivalries after Saudi Arabia and Iran announced in March the end of a seven-year break in ties.

A round of reconciliations have followed, including Qatar and Bahrain resuming relations in April.

Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan visited Iran on Saturday, meeting President Ebrahim Raisi in another major step in their rapprochement. Iran reopened its Riyadh embassy this month.

The detente between Riyadh and Tehran appears momentous because they have long vied for influence around the region, backing opposing sides in conflicts, including Yemen.

Last month, the Arab League brought Syria back into its fold after 12 years.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies