The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar have announced the reopening of their embassies, signaling a significant step towards normalizing relations after a six-year-long diplomatic rift. Both countries issued statements confirming that the Qatari embassy in Abu Dhabi, a Qatari consulate in Dubai, and an Emirati embassy in Doha have resumed operations.
While the statements did not specify the presence of ambassadors or the accessibility of the missions to the public, the foreign ministers of both countries held a phone call to extend congratulations on the reopening of the diplomatic missions.
“The United Arab Emirates and the State of Qatar announced the restoration of diplomatic representation between the two countries,” read an official statement from the UAE’s WAM news agency.
In 2017, the UAE, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt, imposed a boycott and blockade on Qatar, accusing it of supporting “terrorist” groups and aligning too closely with Iran. Qatar consistently denied these allegations and managed to weather the unprecedented diplomatic crisis due to its abundant gas reserves and strong ties with Turkey and Iran.
The boycott was formally lifted in January 2021, and Qatar further demonstrated its diplomatic prowess by hosting the FIFA World Cup, which saw the attendance of leaders from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE.
The recent reopening of diplomatic missions between the UAE and Qatar reflects a broader trend of easing Gulf rivalries. Turkey, which supported Qatar during the crisis, has since reconciled with rival Gulf nations, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia and Iran, long-standing regional adversaries, announced in March the end of a seven-year diplomatic break, leading to a series of reconciliations in the Gulf region. Qatar and Bahrain resumed relations in April, while Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister visited Iran and met with President Ebrahim Raisi, marking a significant milestone in their rapprochement. Iran also reopened its embassy in Riyadh earlier this month.
The détente between Riyadh and Tehran holds significance as the two countries have historically competed for influence in the region, supporting opposing sides in various conflicts, notably in Yemen. Additionally, the Arab League recently readmitted Syria after a 12-year absence, further illustrating a shift towards greater regional cooperation.