SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 6 February 2023, Monday |

UAE president visits Qatar in sign of warming ties

The president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) landed in Qatar, making it his first trip there since Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies ended their embargo of Doha almost two years ago.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani welcomed Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the UAE’s de facto leader for years before he was elected president in May, upon his arrival, according to the emir’s office. World Cup soccer is presently being played in Qatar.

The visit “is another step towards strengthening Gulf solidarity and joint action,” Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the UAE president, said on Twitter.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt early last year ended a 3-1/2 year embargo of Qatar, but ties between Doha and Abu Dhabi have not warmed at the same pace as those with Riyadh and Cairo, which re-established diplomatic ties with Doha.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and Egypt’s president attended the opening World Cup ceremony in Doha on Nov. 20 while the UAE sent Dubai’s ruler, who is also the Gulf state’s vice-president.

 

The political dispute that had seen Riyadh and its allies sever all ties with Qatar – over its support for Islamist groups they deem a threat to Gulf dynastic rule and its ties with rivals Iran and Turkey – had shattered the six-nation Gulf bloc.

Both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have since moved to engage with Shi’ite Muslim Iran in a bid to contain tensions and mend ties with Turkey as they focus on economic development.

UAE National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan visited Doha twice as part of Abu Dhabi’s push to manage regional differences.

Bahrain and Qatar have yet to hold bilateral talks. Abu Dhabi, like Manama, has not appointed an envoy to Doha, but restored travel and trade links between the UAE and Qatar.

This allowed the UAE to benefit from an influx of fans attending the World Cup under partnerships by Doha for daily shuttle flights with neighbouring cities such as tourism hub Dubai.

    Source:
  • Reuters