Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Egypt and United Arab Emirates resume first flights to Qatar after blockade | Middle East News

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Egyptair flew from Doha to Cairo while UAE Air Arabia arrived in Qatar from Sharjah.

The first direct flights between Qatar and two of the blockade countries – Egypt and the United Arab Emirates – took off on Monday after a three-and-a-half-year regional crisis ended earlier this month.

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt accused Qatar, among others, of supporting “terrorism” and being too close to Iran, and severed economic ties. and diplomatic.

Qatar has repeatedly denied the allegations and said there was no justification for severing relations. A blockade was also imposed by the four countries by land, sea and air.

Earlier this month, the four countries signed a declaration at the Gulf summit with Qatar, signaling the end of the blockade.

All four have now announced the reopening of their airspace in Qatar.

On Monday, the first commercial flight from Qatar to Egypt since the blockade, an Egyptair service to Cairo, took off from Doha airport. It was followed shortly after the arrival of an Air Arabia flight from Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

According to official statistics, as many as 300,000 Egyptians live in Qatar and many of them were unable to return home during the crisis.

In May 2020, frustrated Egyptians demonstrated outside the compound housing the then empty Egyptian embassy. Following the protest, 18 repatriation flights were operated via neutral Oman to comply with Cairo’s ban on direct air traffic.

A Qatar Airways plane was also due to fly to Cairo later on Monday.

Flights between Doha and Saudi Arabia, which also opened its land border with Qatar, resumed on January 11.


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