UAE and Qatar Reopen Embassies After Six-Year Diplomatic Rift
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar have announced the reopening of their embassies, signaling a major breakthrough in their diplomatic relations after a six-year break. In separate statements issued on Monday, both countries confirmed the resumption of operations at the Qatari embassy in Abu Dhabi, a Qatari consulate in Dubai, and an Emirati embassy in Doha.
The foreign ministers of UAE and Qatar held a phone conversation to congratulate each other on the reopening of the diplomatic missions, as mentioned in Qatar’s announcement. The UAE’s official news agency, WAM, stated that “the United Arab Emirates and the State of Qatar announced the restoration of diplomatic representation between the two countries.”
The rift between the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt on one side, and Qatar on the other, began in 2017 when the former countries imposed a boycott and blockade on Qatar. They accused Qatar of supporting “terrorist” groups and developing close ties with Iran, allegations that Qatar has consistently denied. Despite the diplomatic crisis, Qatar managed to navigate the situation due to its substantial gas resources and strong alliances with Turkey and Iran.
The boycott was officially lifted in January 2021, and since then, Qatar has made significant strides in rebuilding regional relationships. Notably, it hosted the FIFA World Cup and welcomed leaders from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE.
The reopening of embassies between UAE and Qatar was applauded by the United States, with the State Department describing it as an “important step” towards promoting regional stability. Turkey, which supported Qatar during the crisis, has also restored ties with its Gulf rivals, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
This diplomatic breakthrough comes amidst a broader trend of easing Gulf rivalries. In March, Saudi Arabia and Iran announced the end of a seven-year diplomatic break, leading to subsequent reconciliations, such as Qatar and Bahrain resuming relations in April. The recent visit of Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan to Iran and the reopening of the Iranian embassy in Riyadh further signify a significant step in their rapprochement.
The detente between Saudi Arabia and Iran is particularly noteworthy, considering their historical competition for influence in the region, often backing opposing sides in conflicts like Yemen. The reestablishment of diplomatic ties between UAE and Qatar adds to the positive momentum in the Gulf and sets the stage for further regional cooperation and stability.