Saturday, May 18, 2024

Officials say Qatar and UAE to restore diplomatic ties, reopen embassies following Iran-Saudi detente

Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are in the process of resuming diplomatic relations and reopening missions, two officials said. This follows weeks after the restoration of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

“At present, the activation of diplomatic ties, which will include the reopening of embassies, is under process between both countries,” a UAE official said in a statement in response to a question from Reuters.

A Persian Gulf official stated that embassies were expected to reopen with new ambassadors in their posts by mid-June. A third source added that diplomatic relations would be fully restored within weeks.

The restoration of ties comes amid a broader regional push for reconciliation with Iran and Saudi Arabia agreeing last month to re-establish relations after years of hostility.

Several Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, have moved to end a decade-long isolation of Syria, which had been boycotted over the war.

In Yemen, the Houthi movement and Saudi Arabia held a round of peace talks this week, exchanging hundreds of detainees.

In mid-2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed all ties with Qatar over accusations it supported terrorism, and was cosying up to Iran, accusations Doha denied.

Riyadh and Cairo were the first to reappoint ambassadors to Doha in 2021 after a Saudi-led deal to end the dispute, while Bahrain last week announced it would restore diplomatic ties.

All nations, with the exception of Bahrain, had restored trade and travel links with Qatar in early 2021, when the UAE had suggested resuming diplomatic ties would take time.

Relations between the UAE and Qatar warmed last year and leaders of both countries met face-to-face.

“The UAE’s foreign policy is primarily focused on building bridges, economic cooperation and regional de-escalation,” said the UAE official, who declined to be identified.

The other Persian Gulf official, speaking on condition of anonymity, stated that late last month Qatari and Emirati officials agreed to restore diplomatic ties and that Abu Dhabi has informed Doha who its envoy would be. Qatar has yet to do the same, the official added.

In the Qatari capital of Doha this week, workers were laying new sidewalks outside the consular section of the UAE embassy and palm trees appeared to have been recently planted in the garden. Across the street, another UAE embassy building seemed abandoned, its garden overgrown and upstairs windows propped open.

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