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Qatar and Egypt to resume flights for the first time in three years


Qatar and Egypt to resume flights for the first time in three years

Screen Shot 2021 01 17 at 1 01 45 PM
Photo: AP

Commercial flights between Cairo and Doha will resume today for the first time since 2017.

Service was suspended in June 2017 after Egypt and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) imposed an airspace ban and blockade on Qatar, accusing the Qatari government of supporting terrorism, a charge Doha has vehemently denied.

The resumption of service follows a January 5 GCC meeting in Al-Ula where council members agreed to end their blockades and begin renewing diplomatic ties with Qatar, effectively ending the crisis. The breakthrough follows a substantial diplomatic push from the US, led by President Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner, in an attempt to unify the Gulf states against Iran.

While the move is considered an important step towards reunifying the Gulf community, uncertainty remains. The UAE is reluctant to fully renew relations with Qatar since Doha retains ties with Iran. Qatar wishes to maintain an independent foreign policy distinct from the rest of the Gulf states. While the incoming Biden administration is expected to take a tougher stance against Saudi Arabia, expect Washington to continue steering Qatar away from Iranian influence and towards Gulf unity.

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