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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Qatar receives first Saudi ambassador since 2017 blockade as relations progress


The Saudi ambassador to Doha will be the first to be reinstated following the end of the 2017 Gulf Crisis.

Qatar’s foreign minister has received the new Saudi ambassador to Doha, the Qatar News Agency reported on Monday, marking a major step to restoring ties between the two countries.

Ambassador Prince Mansour bin Khalid bin Farhan Al-Saud will be the first to be reinstated since the Al Ula Declaration, in which Qatar, along with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the UAE, agreed to work towards to end a three-year-long feud that was triggered by an illegal air, land and sea blockade on Doha in 2017.

When a major breakthrough was announced in December last year, Qatar initially revealed that it was only engaging in talks with Saudi Arabia as it believed it “represented the countries involved in the dispute”.

Since the signing of the declaration, ties between Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been strengthening.

Read also: GCC crisis: Where does Qatar stand with former blockading quartet?

Diplomats and officials of both countries have been holding regular meetings both in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, with travel resuming to normal for citizens of both countries.

There have also been regular phone conversations and meetings between Qatar’s amir and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. A public warm welcome from MBS the moment Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani landed in Riyadh for the first time in three years instantly signalled the return of somewhat normal ties.

“We have seen concrete steps between the two countries, we have seen the exchange of visits of the highest levels including with His Highness the Amir and a couple of visits by the foreign minister to Saudi Arabia,” said Dr. Majed Al-Ansari, Assistant Professor of Political Sociology at Qatar University.

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