The United Arab Emirates has announced the reopening of its air, land and sea borders with Qatar. The news follows the signing of the Al Ula Declaration at last week’s Gulf Cooperation Council regional summit by representatives of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and Qatar.
The “solidarity and stability” agreement ended a three-and-a-half year trade and travel blockade of Qatar by the other four Gulf nations. The deal, which was brokered by Kuwait and the US, restores diplomatic and trade ties which had been severed since 2017 over Doha’s deepening ties with Iran and Turkey, and its support for terrorist groups – assertions Qatar has consistently denied.
With the signing of the accord, the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority is now allowing the resumption of scheduled and unscheduled flights between Qatar and the Emirates “in co-ordination with the civil aviation authorities and national carriers in the UAE,” according to state news agency Wam.
Wam quotes Khalid Abdullah Belhoul, the UAE Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, as saying all relevant authorities in the UAE had been instructed to reopen borders for incoming and outgoing transport.
Reopening the airspace over the UAE and Saudi Arabia is particularly welcome news for Qatar Airways, which was forced to reroute flights around the blockade and had to drop 52 daily services to the other four countries.
Egypt and Bahrain are also expected to reopen airspace to Qatar flights. However no official word has been forthcoming yet.