Qatar, Saudi Arabia Start to Mend Relations

Qatar, Saudi Arabia Start to Mend Relations

Qatar has announced its intention to maintain good political, trade, diplomatic and military relations with most of the world’s nations. The nation pays special attention to its relations with its Arab neighbors due, in part, to social, historical, cultural and religious values it shares with them. 

After more than two years of strained relations between Qatar and its partners on the Gulf Cooperation Council, participants at the 40th GCC summit in Riyadh in December 2019 made a push for reconciliation. 

His Highness Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani received an invitation from His Majesty Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to attend the summit. The emir responded positively and dispatched a delegation headed by the then Qatari prime minister.

After the conclusion of the Riyadh gathering, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani announced progress toward resolving the dispute with the country’s Arab neighbors. Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan confirmed that talks were continuing between the two countries.

In an interview with CNN, Sheikh Mohammed indicated that the talks broke the deadlock in relations. 

“We want to understand, examine and evaluate concerns and discuss solutions to prevent the emergence of any potential crisis in the future,” the foreign minister said. “We think we are still at an early stage … and some time is needed to restore confidence.”

The militaries of Qatar and Saudi Arabia took the lead in improving relations. Qatari and Saudi troops engaged in joint missions at the Al Jazeera Shield 10 exercise, in eastern Saudi Arabia in February 2019.

Military cooperation continued in September 2019 at the Eager Lion exercise in Jordan, where Qatari and Saudi special operations troops conducted simulated raids together.  Sources: aljazeera.net, arabnn.net