UAE to reopen borders to Qatar today

Published January 9, 2021
In this file photo, a traditional dhow floats in the Corniche Bay of Doha, Qatar, with tall buildings of the financial district in the background. — AP
In this file photo, a traditional dhow floats in the Corniche Bay of Doha, Qatar, with tall buildings of the financial district in the background. — AP

DUBAI: The UAE will reopen its borders to Qatar from Saturday (today), its official news agency said, making it the first of several boycotting countries to do so after a more than three-year blockade.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt in June 2017 cut air, land and sea links with Qatar over claims the gas-rich nation backed Islamists and was too close to Iran — charges Doha denied.

The quartet agreed to lift the restrictions at a summit on Tuesday in the Saudi desert city of Al-Ula, after a flurry of diplomatic activity by outgoing US President Donald Trump’s administration.

The UAE “will work to reopen all land, sea and air borders to incoming and outgoing” traffic from Qatar, said Khalid Abdullah Belhoul, under-secretary of the ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation, quoted by the official WAM news agency. The measures would take effect on Saturday, according to the statement.

The UAE had said that Gulf states would restore travel, trade and transport links with Qatar within a week.

Its minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said that although rebuilding confidence and addressing difficult geopolitical issues were longer-term tasks, there was a push to quickly restore physical links.

“The practical measures will be within a week... including travel, transportation, trade et cetera,” he told a media briefing.

Qatar lacks direct land borders with the UAE, and overland traffic from the country must pass through Saudi Arabia. On Monday, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmad Nasser Al-Sabah announced on state TV that a deal had been agreed to “open the airspace and land and sea borders between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Qatar” but the move has yet to be implemented.

The United Arab Emirates, the staunchest critic of Qatar and its leadership throughout the crisis, was seen as a reluctant party to the rapprochement.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2021

Opinion

Long arm of Big Tech
20 Jan 2021

Long arm of Big Tech

How many people would still be alive if Twitter and Facebook had denied Trump a platform to spread lies about Covid-19 a year ago?
Words, words, words
19 Jan 2021

Words, words, words

There was little in terms of contributions in our own language as we wrestled with the pandemic.

Editorial

Updated 20 Jan 2021

Broadsheet judgement

There are plenty of skeletons in the Broadsheet cupboard and they must be brought out into the open.
20 Jan 2021

Unequal justice

IT seems no one wants to testify against former SSP Malir, Rao Anwar. At least five prosecution witnesses, all ...
20 Jan 2021

Schools reopening

THE disruptive impact of Covid-19 on education will be felt for years to come. For countries like Pakistan, where...
Updated 19 Jan 2021

LNG contracts

It is important for industry to reconnect with the national grid and for gas to be allocated for more efficient uses.
19 Jan 2021

Murdered judges

THE continuous violence in Afghanistan has raised serious questions about the sustainability of the peace process, ...
19 Jan 2021

K2 feat

A TEAM of 10 Nepalese mountaineers made history over the weekend as they scaled the world’s second highest peak K2...