Egypt and Qatar hold first confidence-building meeting since Al Ula declaration

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt agreed in January to restore diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Doha

epa08920462 A handout photograph made available by the Saudi Royal Court shows Gulf Cooperation Council leaders: (L-R) Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani , Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers' Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud al Said, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, UAE  Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and GCC Secretary General Dr. Nayef Mubarak Al Hajraf, posing for a family picture after attending the 41st GCC ( Gulf Cooperation Council)  Summit at AlUla, some 1040 km East of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 05 January 2021.  According to official Saudi sources, the 41st GCC Summit organized by Saudi Arabia on 05 January, will aim at unifying the path of Gulf countries.  Saudi Arabia agreed on the reopening of its border with Qatar on 04 January evening. Qatar had been imposed with a diplomatic and travel boycott by Saudi Arabia and allies since 2017.  EPA/BANDAR ALAJALOUD/SAUDI ROYAL COURT  HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

Delegations from Qatar and Egypt met in Kuwait on Tuesday for the first time since the signing of an agreement last month to revitalise regional diplomacy, both countries' foreign ministries said.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt agreed in January at a summit in Al Ula in Saudi Arabia to restore diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Doha, which were suspended in 2017. At the time, Qatar stood accused of supporting organisations linked to terrorism.

Qatar on Monday similarly met a UAE delegation in Kuwait for their first bilateral talks.

"The two sides welcomed measures each has taken since signing the Al Ula statement as a step on the path of building confidence between the two fraternal countries," the statement said.

Since the agreement, air and travel links have resumed between Qatar and the four countries.

Each Arab nation is to arrange bilateral talks with Qatar to resolve individual issues.

Bahrain's foreign ministry said last month it had written to Doha, inviting them to send a delegation to Bahrain to start bilateral talks and implement the Al Ula agreement.

Qatar has not yet responded, Bahrain's foreign minister said.

Washington has strong ties with all the states involved, including Qatar, home of the largest US military base in the region, and considered the rift a threat to efforts to contain Iran. As such, Washington has pushed for a united Gulf front.

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