DOHA: On Monday, the president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) came in Qatar for the first time since Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies ended their boycott of Doha nearly two years ago.
According to the emir’s office, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani welcomed Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the UAE’s longtime leader who took office as president in May. World Cup soccer is now taking place in Qatar.
Anwar Gargash, the UAE president’s diplomatic adviser, stated on Twitter that the visit “is another step towards boosting Gulf solidarity and cooperative action.”Early last year, a three and a half year embargo on Qatar was lifted by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt.
However, relations between Doha and Abu Dhabi have not improved as quickly as those with Riyadh and Cairo, which restored diplomatic connections with Doha.
The president of Egypt and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia both attended the opening World Cup ceremony on November 20 in Doha, while the vice-president of the Gulf state and ruler of Dubai were sent by the UAE.
The six-nation Gulf alliance was fractured by the political dispute that led Riyadh and its allies to cut all ties with Qatar over its support for Islamist organisations that they perceive as a threat to Gulf dynasty rule and its ties to adversaries Iran and Turkey.
In an effort to reduce tensions and repair relations with Turkey while concentrating on economic development, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have both taken steps to engage with Shi’ite Muslim Iran.
Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan, national security adviser for the UAE, made two trips to Doha as part of an effort by Abu Dhabi to settle regional disputes.