Saudi Arabia and allies lift their blockade of Qatar

On 5th January at the 41st summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council leaders, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt agreed to restore ties with Qatar bringing the regional split which took place in 2017 to an end.

The issue came to the forefront when Saudi Arabia and the UAE led a regional embargo on Qatar, severing diplomatic and transport links including banning Qatar-registered aircraft and ships from utilising their air and sea space, due to accusations Qatar was sponsoring Islamist groups and working too closely with Iran.

Saudi Arabia has now reopened its airspace and land and sea borders following months of patient, painstaking diplomacy, mostly by Kuwait, but with increasingly urgent prodding from the White House as the Trump presidency draws to a close.

The British Prime Minister spoke to the Emir of Qatar on 7 January and congratulated the Emir on his leadership in reaching an agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council, welcoming it as an important step for regional security and stability agreeing to work together to deepen trade and investment between the two countries.