Qatar’s Emir meets Saudi FM in Doha following thaw in relations

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by Agencies

This handout picture released by the Qatar Amiri Diwan on March 8, 2021, shows Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (2nd-R) meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud (3rd-L) in the Qatari capital Doha. (AFP Photo)

Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat met Qatar’s ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani in Doha on Monday, official media reported, as the countries heal following a bruising rift.

The visit to the Qatari capital comes after Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies in January agreed to end a bitter political row with Doha and restore ties severed since mid-2017 over accusations that Qatar supports terrorism, a charge Doha denies.

QNA said the prince delivered a verbal message from Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on enhancing bilateral ties as well as on regional and international developments.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have all restored travel links with Qatar since the deal backed by the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump was announced at an annual Gulf Arab summit in Saudi Arabia.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia have restored diplomatic ties with Qatar. The Saudi state news agency SPA said the charge d’affaires of the Saudi embassy in Doha, Ali al-Qahtani, was among those greeting Prince Faisal upon arrival on Monday.

“(The emir) received an oral message from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman… during the reception of Prince Farhan,” the state-run Qatar News Agency reported.

The Saudi foreign minister later met his Qatari counterpart and discussed bilateral relations, the agency added.

Egypt’s Al-Ahram daily reported Doha’s delegation was led by senior foreign ministry official Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani to “discuss cooperation between Egypt and Qatar”.

The visit is the latest sign of warming ties between the two countries after their respective foreign ministers met last week on the sidelines of an Arab League session in Cairo.

Although the thaw has been widely welcomed, there is mistrust toward the United Arab Emirates, the other major player in the boycott bloc, which was the staunchest critic of Doha and its leadership throughout the crisis.

Families were divided, students expelled, businesses broken and religious pilgrimages denied when Qatar’s rivals broke ties.

But since the reconciliation, there have been cautious steps toward normality including the resumption of air travel between the former adversaries and the reopening of Qatar’s sole land border with Saudi Arabia.

In a sign of goodwill, Egyptian authorities released an Al Jazeera Arabic journalist from jail in February after more than four years of detention.

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