UAE and Qatar hold first meeting since Gulf detente

February 22, 2021 8:39 AM EST

FILE PHOTO: Flags of Arab states are seen along the Nile river ahead of a meeting of the foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain, in Cairo, Egypt July 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany


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DUBAI (Reuters) - Delegations from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar met in Kuwait on Monday for the first time since an agreement last month to end a rift of more than three years, the UAE state news agency WAM said.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt agreed in January at a summit in Saudi's al-Ula to restore diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Doha, which had been severed in 2017 over accusations that Qatar supported terrorism, a charge it denies.

"The two sides discussed joint mechanisms and procedures for implementing the al-Ula statement. They emphasised the importance of preserving Gulf kinship and developing joint Gulf action in the interest of GCC countries and their citizens, and of achieving stability and prosperity in the region," WAM said.

They thanked Saudi and Kuwait for their roles in ending the rift.

Since the agreement, air and travel links have resumed between Qatar and the four states. Each state is to arrange bilateral talks with Qatar to resolve individual issues.

A UAE official said after the agreement that restoring diplomatic ties would require time as parties work to rebuild trust.

Bahrain's foreign ministry said last month it had written to Qatar inviting Doha to send a delegation to Bahrain to start bilateral talks to implement the al-Ula agreement.

Qatar has not yet responded, according to comments made by Bahrain's foreign minister to a parliamentary meeting carried by state news agency BNA last week.

(Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Giles Elgood and Ed Osmond)



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