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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Qatar-UAE ‘fraternal’ meeting offers signs of growing rapprochement

DUBAI – This week’s Doha meeting with the Emir of Qatar and the National Security Adviser and Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates is another sign of growing frequency of meetings between senior Qatari and UAE officials normalization of relationship After years of political rifts.

Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani met with United Arab Emirates national security adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed and Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Mansour al-Thani on Wednesday Bin Zayed, discussing “fraternal relations” and how to strengthen common interests in various fields, according to WAM, the UAE government news agency.

While no direct economic partnerships or deals have been announced at the meetings, the meetings are a sign that the two Gulf nations are moving in that direction.

since Reconciliation between UAE and Qatar After a nearly four-year rift in January 2021, the two countries expressed their friendship in December in the form of a joint celebration of National Day, the month when both countries commemorate their countries’ independence.

In January 2022, Qatar publicly and strongly condemned the Houthi armed drone attack on three oil tankers near Abu Dhabi and set off a fire at the international airport, killing three people, defining it as a terrorist act.

this gulf dispute Beginning in June 2017, Egypt severed diplomatic relations with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain and imposed a blockade on Qatar.

The nonprofit public policy group said Qatar was accused of supporting extremism because of its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood – which four blockading countries have branded a terrorist organization – and economic ties with Iran, with which Qatar has the largest natural gas fields. Brookings Institution in Washington.

The three-and-a-half-year blockade of nearly all trade, work, and travel by sea, land, and air ended in January 2021 when the countries involved signed the Ula Declaration in Saudi Arabia under the mediation of the United Nations, the United States and Kuwait.

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, a Middle East fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, said one had to read between the lines the seriousness of the progress made in relations between Abu Dhabi and Doha, though it wasn’t obvious.

“The fact that meetings have gradually become more frequent, higher level, and now culminate in positive status meetings – I think that shows that many of the issues that were being dealt with behind the scenes have now grown to the point where the relationship seems to be fully back on track,” he said. Ulrichsen told Al-Monitor.

In February 2022, Qatari and UAE delegations met for the third time since the signing of the Ula Declaration more than a year ago.

Ulrichsen also said that the 2022 World Cup held in Doha, the first Arab city in the history of the event, is a very symbolic and public way to show that the GCC is united again and the blockade is a thing of the past.

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, accompanied Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, at the World Cup opening ceremony.

The ruler of Dubai hailed Qatar’s successful hosting of the tournament as an achievement for the entire Arab region.

The UAE also issues multiple-entry visas for Hayya cardholders – proof of identity for Global Games ticket holders and a means of entry into Qatar – where many World Cup participants shuttle back and forth between Doha and the UAE.

“You see people from all over the Gulf going to Qatar, having fun, enjoying the games – including thousands of Saudis. This blockade is different from previous disputes because it’s clearly not just political; it’s It actually had an impact on society because it involved closing borders and people were prevented from traveling. So the World Cup brought everyone back together for the first time,” he said.

In January 2023, Qatar Emir Al Thani attended Presidential meeting held in UAE The capital, known for the prosperity and stability of the region, aims to consolidate and deepen relations between the GCC countries and Egypt and Jordan. Saudi Arabia was conspicuously absent from the meeting.

Despite Saudi Arabia’s absence, the image of the GCC leader is a major symbol of unity and a sign of the future, although some aspects of the blockade remain to this day, Ulrichsen said.

“Some sites are still blocked [between the two countries]Doha and Abu Dhabi remain convinced that some information campaign about each other is still going on – perhaps not directly but through third parties or proxies. So I think there is still an element of suspicion on both sides, and it may take longer to overcome,” said the author of “Qatar and the Gulf Crisis.”

The contentious issue of Iran, Qatar’s key economic partner, also considered a threat to the UAE and Saudi Arabia remains on the table, but Ulrichsen said each country would be able to work with each other for their own benefit. services of the common interest.

Last month, Qatar and the UAE decided to end a case previously brought before the UN World Court in 2018 that accused the UAE of implementing measures amounting to racial discrimination, the UN agency said.

In 2022, another ad hoc mediation committee was established to resolve Qatar’s interstate complaints against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but that was also terminated due to an agreement between the two countries, according to the UN.

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