The President of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nayhan, has made a surprise visit to Qatar at the invitation of the Emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani. The brief trip was Bin Zayed’s first to Doha since the three-and-a-half year Saudi-led embargo imposed on Qatar ended early last year. The UAE was one of a number of Gulf and other states involved in the embargo.
The visit has been interpreted as a sign of thawing relations between the Gulf States and the two leaders are said to have discussed ways of enhancing relations. “The visit builds on the existing relations between the two nations and their people,” said the UAE’s official WAM news agency.
Bin Zayed was accompanied by a high-profile delegation. He is said to have congratulated Qatar for hosting the FIFA World Cup, the first time that the tournament has been held in the Middle East.
Today I arrived in Doha to discuss areas of mutual interests and strengthening bilateral ties between our nations. I congratulate my brother Tamim bin Hamad and the people of Qatar on hosting the FIFA World Cup and wish them continued success. pic.twitter.com/5k4D6CWgKz
— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) December 5, 2022
According to the Qatar News Agency, Sheikh Tamim congratulated the UAE president on the 51st National Day of his country and expressed hope that the visit would contribute to the development of joint cooperation and pushing relations to a broader level.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi — who was also part of the boycott of Qatar — both attended the FIFA World Cup Opening Ceremony on 20 November. The UAE was represented by the Vice President and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Ibn Rashid Al-Maktoum.
President Bin Zayed has since returned to Abu Dhabi where he will meet with his Israeli counterpart, Isaac Herzog, who arrived earlier today, after making a historic first state visit to neighbouring Bahrain. Both Arab countries normalised relations with Israel in 2020 as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords.