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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Qatari envoy to Riyadh holds first diplomatic meeting with Saudi official

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The two neighbouring states announced plans to restore diplomatic ties on January 5th following a three-year long dispute.

Qatar and Saudi officials met in Riyadh on Tuesday, reports confirmed, marking the Qatari envoy’s first such meeting in the neighbouring kingdom since reconciling earlier this year.

Acting Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of the State of Qatar to Riyadh Hassan bin Mansour Al-Khater met with Saudi Arabia’s Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Protocol Affairs Mashari bin Nahit in the kingdom’s capital on Tuesday, Anadolu reported.

The two diplomats discussed Doha and Riyadh’s bilateral relations, which only recently resumed following a three-year dispute triggered by an illegal air, land and sea blockade of Qatar. In January, both states signed the Al-Ula Declaration to restore ties.

The meeting on Tuesday marks the first public announcement of a Qatari diplomat in Saudi Arabia since the signing of the accord, Anadolu reported, and follows the first diplomatic meeting between Riyadh and Doha in Qatar in February.

The initial meeting saw Al-Muraikhi and Acting Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia Ali Saad Ali al-Qahtani come together to discuss developments in Doha.

To date, there are still no official updates regarding the reopening of Riyadh’s embassy in the Qatari capital, despite previous statements made by Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan.

“Our embassy will be reopened in Doha within days after completing necessary procedures,” the Saudi official said in January.

In February, the Qatari flag was raised in Riyadh for the first time since the GCC crisis erupted in 2017.

The dispute between the two Gulf states began in 2017, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed an illegal land, air and sea blockade on Qatar.

Details of the accord between the GCC states and Egypt were not made public, but it was believed to entail more joint action in order to combat issues that pose a threat to the region’s security and stability.

Read also: Qatar’s Amir, Saudi Arabia’s MBS discuss ‘green initiatives’ in phone call

Since then, several senior-level meetings have been held in both Qatar and Saudi Arabia to revive trade and partnerships. Both countries have also allowed national carriers to enter their airspaces after a three-year hiatus.

More recently, the two neighbouring states held their first Follow-up Committee meeting at Riyadh’s foreign ministry.

The meeting, held on March 31st, was chaired by Qatar’s Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Regional Affairs Ambassador Ali bin Fahad Al Hajri, and Saudi’s Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Political and Economic Affairs Eid Al Thaqafi.

The meetings are part of a roadmap to implement the historic Al-Ula accord and aim to further strengthen Doha and Riyadh’s ties.


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