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UAE-Qatar ties: All land, sea and air ports to reopen today

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This follows the signing of the Al Ula Declaration on Tuesday in Saudi Arabia at the GCC summit.

The UAE will reopen air, land and sea borders with Qatar starting Saturday, state news agency, Wam announced.

In a statement issued on Friday, Khalid Abdullah Belhoul, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said the UAE will hold bilateral talks to phase out the boycott in effect against Qatar since June 5, 2017.

He said that the UAE will work to reopen all land, sea and airports for incoming and outgoing movement. Authorities in the UAE have been instructed with these measures, which will take effect on January 9, he added.

The move follows the re-establishment of diplomatic ties with Qatar after four Gulf states resolved their nearly four-year-long dispute with their neighbours. UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash said on Thursday that trade and transport could resume with Qatar within a week. “We are extremely, extremely supportive and positive about the declaration,” said Dr Gargash reaffirming that economic ties with Qatar will jumpstart soon.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomes the signing of the ‘solidarity and stability’ agreement that will see Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt open their air, land and sea borders with Qatar. The agreement paves the way for commercial airlines to resume regional connectivity, which will reduce flight times and provide essential air links to families and businesses across the region.

A scheduled Qatar Airways service will fly over Saudi Arabia on Thursday for the first time since the Gulf crisis, the airline said.

Though UAE airlines have not announced any dates to resume flights to Qatar, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways said it welcomes diplomatic ties between the UAE and Qatar being restored. “As airspace reopens, Etihad looks forward to recommencing services between Abu Dhabi and Doha and once again, supporting growth of trade and tourism between the two nations. Etihad will announce any developments when confirmed,” said a spokesperson.

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