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Gulf Neighbors Meet After Years of Disconnect

The United Arab Emirates and Qatar earlier this week held their first official meeting since the nearly three-year Qatari embargo was lifted last month in the historic quintuple summit in Saudi Arabia. According to the Emirates’ states news agency, officials from the neighboring Gulf countries met in Kuwait to discuss “joint mechanisms and procedures for implementing the AlUla statement,” alluding to the Saudi city in which the January 5 sit down occurred. The sides “emphasized the importance of preserving Gulf kinship and developing joint Gulf action … and of achieving stability and prosperity in the region.” Doha’s government did not issue a statement on the meeting. In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt severed economic and diplomatic ties with Qatar, imposing a total blockade on the Gulf powerhouse for its alleged support of Iranian aggression and terrorism in the Middle East. Then in early 2021, the five states abruptly agreed to end the bitter dispute, as air travel and trade relations were restored and warm words were exchanged. No details of the AlUla agreement were made public.