Analysts said the resumption of diplomatic ties between Qatar and the UAE signaled a positive atmosphere for easing tensions, a regional strategy pursued by the Gulf state as it expands peacebuilding efforts.
The diplomatic thaw is the latest in a series of high-profile settlements following a China-brokered peace deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran in March.
Last month, Bahrain’s Ministry of Civil Aviation announced that flights between Bahrain and Qatar would resume on May 25, after the two countries decided to restore diplomatic ties in April.
Clemens Chay, a fellow at the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore, said past differences between the UAE and Qatar had been largely “ideological” but that Abu Dhabi had shown a willingness to push forward with reconciliation, albeit a gradual recovery. of. air link.
“The restoration of official diplomatic representation will take longer because the UAE, in line with its conciliatory foreign policy, sees the need to repair relations in tandem with Bahrain’s,” Chai said.
“Certainly, there is a clear appetite in the Middle East to reduce tensions in the region, but the momentum is still strongest from the Gulf states.”
On June 19, Qatar’s foreign ministry said in a statement that “based on the Al Ula agreement and the shared desire to strengthen bilateral relations,” Qatar and the UAE will resume diplomatic relations by reopening the Qatari embassy in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi and Its consulate in Dubai, as well as the UAE embassy in Doha, visited on the same day.
In a similar statement, the UAE foreign ministry said the two sides “emphasized that this step reflects the will of the leaders of both countries”.
Rasha Al Jondi, a senior fellow at the Dubai Center for Public Policy Research in the UAE, said the announcement of the restoration of UAE-Qatar relations was “not a surprise” in itself, as it was seen as part of many steps previously taken to achieve this goal .
She said the UAE-Qatar relationship could be seen as part of a general inclination in the region to adopt a strategy to reduce tensions. For example, she said that for the first time, all GCC and regional countries worked together to support Arab-Iranian peacebuilding efforts.
The 2021 Al Ula agreement between Egypt and GCC countries (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman) at the 41st GCC Summit in Saudi Arabia ends the The three-year boycott of Doha allegedly supports terrorist groups and activities, which it has always denied.
Efforts to normalize relations between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours, however, have been delayed by a lack of consensus on some issues.
Chai said Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup last year also brought “positive prospects for cooperation” among leaders in the region.
“It’s also worth noting that previous meetings of senior officials from both sides, whether in the region or during other regular meetings, have also focused on trade and investment projects, which should become a bigger focus going forward,” Chai said. explain.