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The Hope of Lifting Blockade Over Qatar Gets Gradually Stronger

Arab nations that had been boycotting Qatar for more than four years now have shown hope to resume transport along with trade links soon. There was a declaration made by Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash months back stating that they will soon start their trade-based ties, with some issues to fix over. By this time, the neighbors have made a lot of effort and finished a bunch of homework to initiate the trade ties.

It was in January of 2001 itself, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies made an official agreement to restore trade ties with Qatar. Following the event,  then on January 5 of 2001 – the leaders of Gulf Cooperation Council member states including Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Qatar signed the solidarity and stability agreement. After the signature was done in Al-Ula Summit held in Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar along with other non-GCC members like Egypt dubbed the Arab Quartet and released statements explaining that they will restore full diplomatic relations as well.

Saudi Arabia was the first nation to lift its land, air and sea embargo imposed on Water which was then followed by UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.

Registered planes and ships of Qatar were prohibited from using GCC sea routes and airspace along with only land crossing via Saudi Arabia. These embargoes are being lifted up gradually.

It has been believed that this opening and new welcomings will lead to a boost in the tourism sector in Qatar, Saudi Arabia along the United Arab Emirates. Although there seems skepticism about tourism because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the major economic knots are believed to open up as well. Like the situation before, Qatar is expected to import a wide range of goods from Gulf neighbours too.

As per the views of analysts and insiders, it was Saudi Arabia who took the lead decision playing the driving force for this deal, hoping Riyadh to end the feud with curry flavor keeping expectations of US president Joe Biden, who could take a tougher stance with the kingdom than the previous president. UAE based analysts also explained that the UAE and Egypt turned out to be relatively reluctant to pursue full detente with Qatar. Because of lack of full trust, and the major demands are not yet met – they had turned out to be stubborn for a while. It was during the start of the embargo itself Doha issued a 13 point list of an ultimatum, which included closing the flagship broadcaster Al Jazeera, expelling Turkish troops over the soil and dramatically scaling back the cooperation with Iran.

Al Jazeera seems to remain operational despite the criticism of Gulf neighbors recently. Experts have clearly explained that lifting up the blockade is not open meaning indicating that the trust has been restored between GCC members, but just a beginning. The move that Qatar takes will ultimately determine the next step.

The campaign of boycotting Qatar began on June 5 of 2017 when Saudi Arabia and UAE led a regional embargo against Qatar. This decision of reconciliation agreement took place right before American president Joe Biden took the position as president.

It is believed that all these decisions will ultimately help Qatar in successfully hosting the World Cup 2022.

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