The Saudi crown prince’s visit to Qatar is the first since the 2017 GCC crisis.
Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud [MBS] stressed the importance of ensuring regional stability in a meeting in Doha on Wednesday.
According to the Qatar News Agency [QNA], Sheikh Tamim and MBS discussed bilateral ties and means to strengthen common interests during a meeting held at the Amiri Diwan in the Qatari capital.
سمو الأمير المفدى وأخوه صاحب السمو الملكي الأمير محمد بن سلمان بن عبدالعزيز آل سعود ولي العهد السعودي يترأسان الاجتماع السادس لمجلس التنسيق القطري السعودي المشترك بالديوان الأميري. #قطر #السعودية https://t.co/YwNNQvgmiH pic.twitter.com/DK010g19at
— الديوان الأميري (@AmiriDiwan) December 8, 2021
The two royals chaired the sixth meeting of the Qatari-Saudi Joint Coordination Council, established in August this year to advance bilateral relations and partnerships between the two Gulf states as part of both the Saudi’s Vision 2030 and the Qatar National Vision 2030.
The latest meeting touched on bilateral relations and means to enhance joint cooperation in the political, security, economic, and investment fields.
Qatar’s Deputy Amir Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Thani, Personal Representative of the Amir Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al-Thani, and several other ministers were also in attendance.
MBS’s current visit comes as part of a tour in the Gulf region ahead of the 42nd session of the annual GCC summit, scheduled to take place on 14 December in Riyadh.
Sheikh Tamim and MBS met several times ahead of the latest meeting, though all meet ups took place outside of Qatar.
In 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed all diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed an illegal air, land and sea blockade.
However, the latest visit exhibits warming ties between the two countries since the signing of the Al-Ula Declaration in January this year by the GCC and Egypt, which marked the end of the three-year regional dispute.
Steps towards warming ties
In November, Qatar’s border with Saudi Arabia was moved further towards the kingdom, expanding the peninsula’s geographical boundaries.
Khawr al Udayd is located in Al Wakrah Municipality in southeast Qatar, on the border with Saudi Arabia. The Qatari flag was raised following the agreement with the kingdom on demarcating the border between both nations.
Meanwhile, a recent report by the Wall Street Journal [WSJ] said that Saudi Arabia reached out to Qatar along with other Gulf and European allies for ammunition. The report stated that it requested from the US hundreds of Patriot interceptors to repel attacks from Houthi rebels.
In August, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud said relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar were “very good”.
Amir Tamim also appointed Bandar Mohamed Abdullah Al Attiyah in August as the country’s first ambassador to Saudi Arabia, the first such appointment since the 2017 GCC crisis erupted.
This came two months after Doha received its first Saudi Ambassador Prince Mansour bin Khalid bin Farhan in June, which was seen as a major step toward restoring ties between the two neighbouring countries.
Sheikh Tamim has also participated in the Middle East Green Initiative Summit in Riyadh in October at the invitation of Saudi Crown Prince.
The participation of Sheikh Tamim in Riyadh was yet another indicator of developing relations between Doha and Riyadh, both of which were involved in a bitter dispute that left Qatar blockaded for three years