Qatar’s Emir appointed an envoy to Saudi Arabia, the Emir’s office announced on Wednesday. This came two months after Riyad reinstated its envoy to Doha in June. The move is the latest sign of improving bilateral relations since the two Gulf neighbors agreed to normalize relations through the Al Ula Declaration inked in January.
According to the statement, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani named Bandar Mohamed Abdullah Al Attiyah as Qatar’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Being the son of army commander Mohamed bin Abdullah Al Attiyah, Bandar Mohamed is also the brother of Minister of State for Defense Affairs Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah. Before his new duty in Riyadh, he served as Qatar’s ambassador to Kuwait between 2018 and 2021.
At the beginning of this year, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, and Qatar reached an agreement to bring an end to a long-lasted dispute and restore political, trade, and travel links. Since then, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have reinstated diplomatic relations with Qatar. Saudi Arabia named Prince Mansour bin Khalid bin Farhan as the Kingdom’s ambassador to Qatar in June. Additionally, Qatar appointed an ambassador to Egypt, following a similar move by Cairo in June.
However, the UAE and Bahrain have not taken a step in the same direction thus far. Nevertheless, Bahrain has re-established trade and travel links with Qatar.
On the contrary, some tensions within the UAE, Bahrain, and Qatar seem to be maintained. Last month, a UAE-funded Hollywood film called “The Misfits” caused eyebrows to raise in Qatar. In the film, Qatar was framed as a “terrorist state,” which was called “Jazeeristan.” While the film accused Qatar of supporting terrorist organizations, Egyptian Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi was introduced as “the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and the sponsor of global terrorism.”
Bahrain, on the other hand, blamed Qatar for a delay in restoring bilateral relations. In June, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani issued a statement saying that his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani did not respond to two official invitations, which request a Qatari delegation be sent to Manama to start negotiations over bilateral relations. In addition to this, issues regarding the usage of air space and fishery between the two countries remain to be solved.
In June, the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) invited Qatar and Bahrain to agree on the technical implementation of the Doha FIR/SRR and submit the results of the talks at the 224th session in November for approval.