The UAE is set to reopen its borders with Qatar, signalling the practical conclusion of the crisis
Rabat – The UAE is set to reopen its borders to Qatar, officially concluding the 3.5-year Gulf crisis that saw Qatar isolated from its neighbors. On Tuesday, Qatar signed a diplomatic agreement with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the UAE that is becoming a practical reality as the coalition lifts its border restrictions.
The UAE will open its land, sea, and air borders with Qatar on Saturday, showing its commitment to the newfound political agreement to end the Gulf crisis. The country’s diplomats had promised to reopen its borders “within a week,” following Saudi Arabia reopening its borders on Tuesday, January 5, during the agreement’s signing ceremony.
After months of fruitful negotiations, the parties involved signaled they had finally reached a deal to end the diplomatic isolation of Qatar and end the Gulf crisis. Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan al-Saud stated that all parties were “extremely pleased” to have reached an agreement that was “entirely satisfactory to all nations involved.”
With diplomatic talks concluded, the Gulf crisis is now seeing its practical conclusion as former rivals again reopen their borders with Qatar and vital trade and travel can recommence.
From Saturday, January 9, the UAE will resume cross-border travel and trade that had been halted since 2017. On Thursday the UAE’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Anwar Gargash, stated the UAE is “extremely, extremely supportive and positive about the declaration.”
Rarely does a diplomatic stand-off such as the 3.5-year Qatar Gulf Crisis reach such an amicable conclusion. The diplomatic success is likely the result of Kuwaiti mediation, the first diplomatic victory since its renowned emir and international diplomat Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah passed away on September 29, 2020.
The US has also facilitated the diplomatic triumph that ends Qatar’s isolation from its closest neighbors. The US has close ties to both Qatar, and the coalition that isolated it since 2017. The “Al Ula agreement,” named after the location of the signing, was brokered by the US and signed at the 41st GCC summit.
The agreement means the Gulf crisis is now over and Qatar and its former rivals will now be “turning a page,” according to the most-recent public statements by Emirati FM Gargash.