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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Saudi ambassador returns to Qatar, in symbolic healing of Gulf rift

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QNA-HH the30 Emir Meets with GCC Leaders16112014

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Qatar has returned to the country, after GCC states reached an agreement earlier this week to end an eight-month-long dispute, the embassy has confirmed to Doha News.

Arriving at Hamad International Airport yesterday, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Ayfan said that he felt at home and that his return marked the beginning of a new chapter in intra-GCC relations, The Peninsula reports.

Al Ayfan added that he hoped ambassadors from the UAE and Bahrain would also soon return to Qatar to show unity and to “save (the Gulf) from any internal or external threats.”

The envoy’s return is one of a number of signs in recent days that Qatar and its neighbors are trying to rebuild their relationships, which have been strained since March.

Envoys withdrawn

At that time, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE announced they were jointly withdrawing their ambassadors from Doha.

They said Qatar had violated an agreement among GCC members not to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.

This was widely interpreted to be a reference to Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, which Saudi Arabia and the UAE view as a threat to their own authority and have banned as a terrorist organization.

After a few stalled attempts at ending the dispute, the states announced on Sunday evening that they had resolved their differences and had signed the Riyadh Complementary Arrangement, pledging “more unity of the GCC member states, their interests and future of their peoples.”

Handball back on

In a further display of the renewed partnership between the states, the UAE and Bahrain have announced that they “wish to cancel their withdrawal” from the 2015 Men’s World Handball Championships, which are due to be held in Doha in January.

Handball

Making a statement to the International Handball Federation yesterday, the two countries’ national federations “expressed their preparedness and wish to participate at this flagship event.”

This marks an about-turn, following the nations’ abrupt decision to pull out of participating in the event earlier this month. While no reason was officially given for their withdrawal from the tournament, many speculated it was a boycott related to the diplomatic disputes.

Qatar appears to have taken a number of steps to help smooth over relations with its Gulf neighbors in recent months, including asking seven senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood to leave the country.

It has also signed up to a GCC agreement by passing a new cybercrime law that criminalizes online insults of the region’s royal families.

Bahrain citizens

Meanwhile, another source of tension – Qatar’s attempts to naturalize Sunni Bahraini citizens – also appears to have been resolved.

Bahrain’s state news agency BNA quotes its Interior Minister, Lt.-Gen. Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, as saying yesterday:

“Qatar has stopped the naturalization process, stressing organisational procedures which stipulate mutual respect of the laws of both countries to serve the general interests and bonding of GCC countries.”

Earlier this summer, Bahrain had accused Qatar of harming its national security by encouraging specific Bahraini families, who had long-standing ties with Doha and were Sunni, to take Qatari citizenship.

Sunni-ruled Bahrain has a majority Shia majority population, and the country has faced years of unrest as Shias have protested for more rights. The country fears a shift in its demographic make-up could lead to further instability.

Thoughts?

10 COMMENTS

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Osama Alassiry
6 years ago

Welcome back!

Vinod Thadhani
Vinod Thadhani
6 years ago
Reply to  Osama Alassiry

Doesn’t it bring a sense of joy. Look at the picture. Well done Qatar and the Rest

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Thank God the Handball is back on. I don’t think Qatar would have ever recovered if there was a boycott.

brorick
brorick
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

haha…I often scroll down after reading the title just to see what sarcastic thing you wrote. Wasnt disappointed.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

“Qatar’s attempts to naturalize Sunni Bahraini citizens” should read “Qatar’s attempts to naturalize Sunni Bahraini citizens originally from Qatar and migrated to Bahrain over the past decades.”

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Still. It does not make sense. There mustn’t be any attempt to naturalize people in the first place. People should come forward on their own with their complete papers to request naturalization, and should follow the same lengthy process as anyone else.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Yes I don’t really understand the problem, if they want to be Qatari and Qatar accepts them as that who cares. (OK I know Bahrain has a Sunni/Shia imbalance in their eyes and they can’t afford to lose too many sunnis…)

How about they just all try to get on, regardless of what sect you belong to.

guest
guest
6 years ago

Successful reconciliation. New issue…how Qaradawi will deal with his organisation getting listed under terrorist groups by UAE

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  guest

i dunno.. opt out of visiting the UAE anytime soon…

BBCA
BBCA
6 years ago

Is that a big pile of Jello in the center of the picture? Is that the Magical green negotiating jello? Mmmmm… Tasty! Let all eat jello and calm the f@#k down. We can get along here… we can do this…

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