Riyadh, January 5: Three years after snapping ties with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and its three major allies on Tuesday agreed to restore full bilateral, diplomatic and trade relations with Qatar. The cohesion among the Arab neighbours was re-attained at the Gulf Cooperation Council summit, held in the ancient Saudi town of Al-Ula.
From the onset of GCC summit, feelers were sent to both the camps that the lull in ties would officially be ended. Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani was, earlier today, received by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who greeted him with a hug -- considered an uncommon and unadvised practise since the onset of COVID-19 pandemic. PM Modi Speaks to Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani; Task Force to Be Set Up to Boost Investments.
Even before the GCC session commenced, the Foreign Ministries of the UAE and Egypt announced the end of travel blockade imposed on Qatar. The government in Bahrain also indicated that the cohesion among Gulf neighbours is set to be restored at the historic GCC meet today.
While the Gulf Council summit succeeded in restoring full ties, the thaw was reached months ago after successful rounds of mediation by Bahrain. The United States was also in favour of resolution of all outstanding disputes, with analysts attributing this to the threat of Iran exploiting the differences among Sunni Arab nations.
The ties with Qatar were snapped in 2017, after Saudi accused the Qatari regime of "supporting terrorism" and increasing bond with Iran. Both the charges were denied by al-Thani, who had described the entire diplomatic fiasco as a "futile crisis".