Egypt and Qatar have begun the process of reinstating diplomatic ties, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which confirmed that both states have exchanged official memoranda on normalizing relations, Egypt Today reports.
This comes following weeks of rapprochement, which saw Egypt sign the Al Ula Declaration, a reconciliation agreement between Arab Quartet nations—Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain—and Qatar. As part of this normalization, Egypt also lifted its ban on direct flights from Qatar and agreed to open its airspace to flights from the gulf nation. The first flight from Qatar to Egypt since the 2017 embargo reportedly took place last Monday.
According to a press release by the ministry, reinstating diplomatic ties with the small, oil-rich nation is one of the commitments stipulated upon in the agreement, which was signed on the 5th of January at the 41st edition of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit in the city of Al Ula in Saudi Arabia.
The reconciliation comes following years of isolation for Qatar, which saw its ties with its Arab neighbors suffer. The diplomatic rift culminated in 2017 when Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates severed ties with Qatar, accusing it of sponsoring terrorism and slamming it for maintaining relations with Iran.