It looks as though the Gulf monarchies are seeking to bring their three-year long feud to an end. Signs of thawing acrimony have been in the offing for some time with several overtures from both sides, but there has been little to no concrete success. This may be about to change.
According to Reuters, the UAE has resumed postal services to Qatar following a meeting of parties involved in the dispute with the United Nations postal service.
Indirect services resumed on Sunday with mail transported to Qatar via Oman – one of the main Gulf gateways to Qatar since the beginning of the blockade in 2017.
In the same week during which postal service between the UAE and Qatar was restored, Saudi Arabia held talks with its Gulf neighbour to restore ties. Though the talks collapsed shortly after kicking off in October last year, it was another sign that the countries were seeking to find a solution to their differences.
The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a political, trade and transport boycott on Qatar in 2017. They accused the Qataris of supporting terrorism, a catch-all word denoting Islamist militants and pro-democracy campaigners. Doha vehemently denies the charges, saying the embargo aims to curtail its sovereignty.
Following a period of extreme bitterness during which Saudi and its allies clamped down on open displays of solidarity with the Qataris, there has been a growing realisation that the feud has been counterproductive and a resolution needed to be found.
This latest move to renew ties came after the UN Universal Postal Union (UPU) held a meeting with postal representatives from Qatar and the four boycotting nations at UPU headquarters in Switzerland on 29 January to discuss ways to improve ties, according to an UPU spokesman cited by Reuters.
"UPU finds it very positive that there was an agreement to discuss these issues and the discussions were a positive development and a step in the right direction," he said. An Emirates Post employee was also reported confirming that services had resumed.
Post still cannot be sent to Qatar from Egypt or Saudi Arabia, according to customer service phone-lines run by those countries.