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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

UAE appears to backtrack on years of anti-Doha rhetoric with ‘Qatar National Day celebrations’


Both countries have been working on mending ties since the signing of Al-Ula Declaration last January, ending a three-year blockade on Qatar.

The United Arab Emirates [UAE] will mark Qatar’s 2021 National day with a list of celebrations, a leaked document seen by Doha News shows, as both countries work on strengthening diplomatic ties following a years-long crisis.

Qatar’s national day is observed on 18 December and marks the day in which founding father Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani succeeded his father as the amir in 1878 to lead the country towards unity.

In less than two weeks from now, commemorations for the annual event will extend just over 300 miles from Qatar’s capital, sprouting up in the United Arab Emirates, where for years authorities were heavily engaged with anti-Qatar rhetoric to rile up support for the illegal air, land and sea blockade on Doha.

As part of the celebrations, and for the first time in years, the UAE will illuminate its iconic buildings with the colours of the Qatari flag, including the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa.

Residents and citizens of the UAE will also witness special Qatar-related celebrations at Dubai’s famous Expo 2020 and Global Village, while Qataris currently in the UAE will also be met with special receptions dedicated to celebrating the day across all international airports in the country, the document shows.

Similarly, congratulations and praise from the Abu Dhabi government itself will be directed towards the Qatari people across Qatari press, in an apparent bid at reaching the local community following the end of the GCC dispute.

“Relations between the UAE and Qatar are the consolidation of a stable and prosperous Gulf Cooperation Council,” the UAE Government Media Office said in a statement.

“Maximising cooperation between the two countries in various sectors reflects on the prosperity and prosperity of the two brotherly people,” it added.

Qatar-UAE Relations

Diplomatic relations between both Gulf Nation have warmed since the signing of the Al-Ula Declaration in January, which saw the end of illegal land, air, and sea blockade on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.

Though UAE remained hesitant to rapprochement after the crisis ended, there has been significant progress in recent months.

This was particularly amplified in August when the UAE’s National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, also brother of Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, met with Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha.

The move marked the first such high-level visit to the Qatari capital since the GCC crisis and came months after the Al Ula Declaration was signed between the feuding states.

In October, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani met with the UAE’s Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Shakhboot Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan in Doha.

The official logo for the celebration.

Doha’s foreign ministry at the time said the officials “reviewed aspects of the bilateral cooperation and means of developing the relations to serve the interests of the two countries”.

“The UAE and Qatar have solid brotherly relations under the umbrella of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which is supported by historical ties with a common cultural and social heritage,” the UAE Government Media Office said in a statement.

“This has made it possible to establish relationships that were reflected in many different sectors, especially fields of economic, cultural, and creativity.”

Read also: Dubai’s ruler awards Qatar’s Sheikh Joaan, are relations improving?

On the economic front, the total volume of non-oil foreign trade between both countries during the first eight months of 2021 has amounted to around 4.7 billion Qatari Riyals— a significant number after years of no trade due to the blockade.

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