UAE leader makes surprise visit to Qatar after boycott

AP , Monday 5 Dec 2022

The leader of the United Arab Emirates made a surprise visit on Monday to Qatar as it is hosting the World Cup, his first since leading a yearslong four-nation boycott of Doha over a political dispute that poisoned regional relations.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and Shiekh Tamim
This handout picture provided by the UAE Ministry Of Presidential Affairs shows Qatar s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani (R) meeting with Emirati President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan in Doha, on December 5, 2022. AFP


Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who also serves as the ruler of Abu Dhabi, made the trip at the invitation of Qatar's ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the state-run WAM news agency reported.

"The visit builds on the existing brotherly relations between the two nations and their people,'' WAM said in its brief report.

The boycott, which saw Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain shut off air and sea routes to Qatar, only ended in January 2021.

The opening ceremony of the World Cup, which coincided with Qatar facing Ecuador in the tournament's first match, saw Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi attend.

Also on the dais with leaders was Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who provided a vital lifeline to Qatar during the crisis.

Dubai's ruler also attended along with his son while Sheikh Mohammed did not attend.

However, he called Sheikh Tamim the following day and "congratulated'' Qatar on hosting the World Cup, something that would have been unthinkable at the height of the diplomatic crisis.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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