Mauritania Restores Ties With Qatar Amid Arab Rapprochement

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Mauritania is following the lead of Gulf states in resuming ties with Qatar, ending a four-year dispute with the country.

The two countries agreed to ease the rift at a meeting in Doha between Mauritanian Foreign Affairs Minister Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed and his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the Mauritanian government said in a statement Sunday.

Both countries’ embassies will reopen as soon as possible, according to the statement.

Mauritania severed ties with Qatar in 2017 after four Arab states -- Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt -- boycotted Qatar, suspending trade, travel and diplomatic ties. The Islamic Republic of Mauritania in West Africa sees Saudi Arabia as one of its main allies.

Boycotting states accused Qatar, the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, of meddling in their internal affairs and supporting hard-line Islamist groups, which Doha denies. They are also wary of Qatar’s relations with Iran, with whom it shares the world’s largest gas field.

The U.S. led a push to end the boycott under President Donald Trump’s administration in a bid to unite Arab states against Iran, culminating in an agreement by all four countries to restore ties. While Trump sought to weaken Iran through sanctions, U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged to engage diplomatically with the Islamic Republic if it first returns to the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal.

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