A Landmark Visit to Qatar

A Landmark Visit to Qatar

On December 8th, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Qatar for a diplomatic visit, his third stop in a tour of the Gulf states ahead of a Gulf summit to be held at the end of the month.

This is the first such Saudi visit to Qatar since the end of the blockade in January 2021. The rapprochement was initiated by Saudi Arabia after the dispute between the long-standing allies considerably undermined the good functioning of the GCC and created strong international geopolitical tensions. Since the end of the dispute, the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has already paid several visits to the Kingdom.

Upon arrival, the Saudi Crown Prince was received on the tarmac by the Qatari leader. Several meetings were held between them during the visit. On Twitter, Sheikh Al Thani reiterated the importance of the brotherly relations between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, emphasising that the relations were "based on solid foundations of history and a common destiny".

Since the blockade ended in January 2021, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have both appointed new ambassadors to Doha and reopened their respective diplomatic missions in the capital. Both states, alongside the UAE, have also reinstated their commercial and travel links with Qatar. Bahrain, meanwhile, is yet to re-establish diplomatic or commercial relations with its neighbour.

During their meetings, the two leaders discussed potential ways to increase the stability of the region and boost cooperation. The visit was MBS's first official trip to the country. MBS’s tour of the Gulf states comes against the backdrop of new rounds of negotiations between Iran and world powers aimed at salvaging the JCPOA.