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Saturday, January 29, 2022

UAE has ‘turned the page’ on Qatar rift, Gargash says


Qatar-UAE ties have appeared to slowly move onto a more positive path in recent days.

Diplomatic adviser to the UAE’s president, Anwar Gargash said that his country has “turned the page” on its rift with Qatar, following a three-year-long crisis triggered by the illegal air, land and sea blockade.

“Some ask about the UAE’s position on the anniversary of the Qatar crisis and the boycott of Doha by the four countries. The UAE does not look at the past, and it has turned the page,” tweeted Gargash on Saturday.

“It is looking forward to the future with optimism and confidence, adding new pages to its development goals and aspirations for the prosperity of its people,” he added.

His tweet was posted on the fourth anniversary of the embargo on Qatar, when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt impose severed all ties with Doha and imposed a blockade.

Read also: OPINION: The Gulf crisis has not been solved but managed 

The signing of the Al-Ula Declaration on January 5th this year paved the way for the restoration of ties between the quartet and Qatar. Shortly after the signing of the accord, the UAE reopened its airspace for Qatar’s airlines and reportedly resumed trade activities, with reports suggesting an oil shipment between the two countries was reported earlier in March.

Qatar-UAE ties have appeared to gradually move onto a more positive path in recent days, with Qatar’s foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani confirming the two countries have held several rounds of discussion to pave the way for restoring relations.

Ongoing media attacks

However, despite the signing of the accord, media hostilities have persisted.

Most recently, delegates at the Federation of African Journalists [FAJ], a Pan-African organisation, denounced attempts believed to be perpetrated by the UAE to manipulate journalists in Africa to participate in a campaign against Qatar’s ability to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The signatories of a statement slammed the UAE’s suspicious movements and attempts to rally African journalists against the World Cup in Qatar by trying to manipulating members of the press into inaccurately covering the events in the Gulf state.

Read also: GCC crisis: Where does Qatar stand with former blockading quartet?

In another incident, the UAE’s ambassador to Israel Mahmoud Al-Khaja attacked Qatar’s leading broadcaster Al Jazeera while visiting the chief of a right wing Israeli movement that called for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

He accused Al Jazeera of shifting the narrative of the events in the apartheid state and not reflecting the so-called truth. The comments were made just weeks after Al Jazeera’s media building in Gaza was completely levelled by Israeli airstrikes during an 11-day indiscriminate bombing campaign on the besieged Strip.

Meanwhile, digital analysts and experts have pointed towards several anti-Qatar social media campaigns that were reportedly launched by the UAE.

Speaking to Doha News, Dr. Mehran Kamrava, Professor and Director of the Center for International and Regional Studies [CIRS] at Georgetown University in Qatar [GU-Q] said: “I think we have entered a new phase in the evolution of the GCC where there’s a new realisation by the Qatari leadership that it cannot and should not trust other members, at least Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

“But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t maintain friendly relations with them. Having friendly relations and trust are two different things,” Dr. Kamrava added.

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