Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are making progress towards the reopening of embassies in each other’s countries after a lengthy boycott that began in 2017. The boycott, which was initiated by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt, was in response to what they perceived as Qatar’s support for Islamist groups and Iran, among other issues.
On Tuesday, both countries issued statements acknowledging that they are working towards the reactivation of diplomatic ties and the reopening of embassies. Qatar’s International Media Office stated that “work is underway” to reopen embassies “as soon as possible,” while the UAE confirmed that the “activation of diplomatic ties, which will include the reopening of embassies, is under process between both countries.” The statements did not provide a specific timeline for the reopening.
The boycott, which lasted for over three years, caused significant disruptions for Qatar, particularly in terms of trade and transportation. The four countries cut off diplomatic relations and closed their borders with Qatar, effectively isolating it from the rest of the Gulf region. They also imposed a range of economic sanctions, such as banning Qatar Airways from using their airspace and banning their citizens from traveling to Qatar.
The boycott ended in January 2021, shortly before the inauguration of US President Joe Biden. The move was seen as a sign of the Biden administration’s commitment to restoring US relations with Qatar, which has been a key US ally in the region for decades. Qatar hosts the US military’s Central Command, and the US has a significant military presence in the country.
Since the end of the boycott, Qatar has been working to improve its relations with its Gulf neighbors. The country has taken several steps to ease tensions, including holding talks with Saudi Arabia and other countries, and reopening its borders with Saudi Arabia in January.
The reopening of embassies between Qatar and the UAE would be a significant step towards the normalization of relations between the two countries. The UAE has been one of Qatar’s harshest critics, and the boycott had a significant impact on the relationship between the two countries.
The two countries have been engaged in a war of words in recent years, with Qatar accusing the UAE of being behind a hacking attack on its state news agency in 2017. The attack led to the publication of fake news stories that falsely attributed statements to Qatar’s emir, which were then used as a pretext for the boycott.
The reopening of embassies would signal a willingness on both sides to move beyond these issues and work towards improving relations. It would also have significant implications for the broader Gulf region, which has been plagued by political and economic tensions in recent years.