In a surprise move this week, Qatar announced it would return its ambassador to Iran, nearly two years after recalling him out of solidarity with Saudi Arabia.
At the time, Saudi Arabia had executed a Shia cleric, prompting protestors to attack its missions in Iran. The nation quickly recalled its envoys, and many Gulf states followed suit.
The decision to return the ambassador comes despite demands by some Gulf states for Qatar to distance itself from Tehran, and has drawn the ire of UAE officials.
— MOFA – Qatar (@MofaQatar_EN) August 23, 2017
In a statement this week, Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the return of the ambassador comes amid “its aspiration to strengthen bilateral relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran in all fields.”
Iran has grown closer to Qatar during the Gulf dispute, allowing the nation to use its airspace and sending fresh food over the past few months.
In a series of tweets this week, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Gargash criticized Qatar’s decision as escalation of the Gulf dispute.
إدارة الأزمة عبر حرق الجسور وهدر السيادة والهروب إلى الأمام عمَّق أزمة قطر ويقوض ما تبقى للوسيط من فرص، الحكمة التي تمنيناها غابت تماما.
— د. أنور قرقاش (@AnwarGargash) August 24, 2017
Translation: “The management of the crisis caused the burning of bridges, the squandering of sovereignty and the deepening of the Qatari crisis and undermined what remained of the mediator’s chances. The wisdom that we hoped for was completely absent.”
It’s been almost three months since Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut economic and diplomatic ties with Qatar. They’ve accused the country of financing terrorism, which it denies.
They’ve also demanded Qatar close Al Jazeera, reduce ties with Iran and shut its Turkish military base if it wants the blockade to end.
Qatar has thus far refused to do so.
Chad relations deteriorate
Meanwhile, a new country has cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, after accusing it of destabilizing the central African region due to its involvement in Libya.
This week, Chad closed its Qatar embassy and gave diplomats 10 days to leave the country. It also announced plans to close its Doha embassy and recall all personnel.
Qatar strongly responded by denouncing the allegations. It said it would close Chad’s embassy in Doha and is giving diplomatics and staff 72 hours to leave the country.
However, west African nation Senegal this week reinstated its ambassador to Qatar after recalling him out of solidarity with Saudi Arabia three months ago.
In a statement, Senegal’s foreign minister said he hoped the act “encourages efforts to peacefully resolve the crisis between Qatar and neighboring countries.”