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Qatar hosts first diplomatic meeting with Saudis since 2017 

February 10, 2021 at 3:09 pm

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani (L) is welcomed by Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman (R) in AlUla, Saudi Arabia on 5 January 2021 [Royal Council of Saudi Arabia/Anadolu Agency]

A Qatari minister met with the newly-appointed Saudi envoy to Doha yesterday following the restoration of diplomatic ties between the Gulf States last month. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan Bin Saad Al-Muraikhi met Acting Charge d’Affaires Ali Saad Ali Al-Qahtani, said officials.

The meeting was the first of its kind between senior Saudi and Qatari diplomats since the Gulf crisis started back in 2017 when Saudi Arabia along with Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed a blockade on the small Gulf State. They accused the government in Doha of supporting terrorism, charges which were denied. Qatar was also pressured to end its relations with Iran, which it still refuses to do.

The end of the Gulf dispute - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The end of the Gulf dispute – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Last month, the quartet ended the blockade and reconciled with Qatar at the Al-Ulah Summit in Saudi Arabia after months of mediation from Kuwait and the US. This was followed by flights being resumed between Qatar and Saudi, Egypt and the UAE; there are said to be lingering tensions with Bahrain. Kuwait has since stated that it is willing to mediate between arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.

In a symbolic gesture last week, a video clip circulated on social media showing the national flag being hoisted at the Embassy of Qatar in Riyadh.

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