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Sunday, 10 January 2021

Entering the post-Qatar embargo era

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have reopened their airspaces to Qatar after signing the declaration — along with Egypt and Bahrain — last week that ended nearly a 3.5-year blockade of Doha. Saudi airlines have resumed operating regularly scheduled flights to the statelet, while Qatar Airways said it will restart commercial flights to Saudi. Qatari vehicles also crossed into the kingdom by land yesterday, for the first time since mid-2017.

Diplomatic ties will likely take longer to restore though: This is according to UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, who said last week that while logistical ties can be easily mended, the rebuilding of trust necessary to fully restore diplomatic relations will be a long-term project.

The statelet doesn’t plan foreign policy changes and isn’t reining in mouthpiece Al Jazeera. Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani tells the Financial Times that it will continue its cordial relations with Turkey and Iran, “in a sign that it has made few concessions” with its regional rivals. And Bloomberg’s Bobby Ghosh concludes that the royal family has emerged from the crisis with “a stronger hand,” ending the embargo still in control of its policies and with stronger regional allies in Tehran and Ankara.

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