Saudi Arabia has signed an agreement to reopen Qatar to foreign business, following the signing of the ‘Dubai Agreement’ in Doha.
This is a major step forward for Qatar as it is a critical hub for the region’s oil industry.
The agreement aims to open up the kingdom’s economy to more foreign investors.
The deal is a response to the country’s ongoing blockade by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which has been in place since 2015.
Under the agreement, the country will reopen to foreign investors the ports, ports infrastructure, ports and airports it has been denied since the kingdom was barred from entering the GCC and forced to shut down the only international airport in the country.
Qatar’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Saudi Arabia´s Crown Prince, will meet later this month to sign the agreement.
In a statement, the UAE, the GCC’s regional rival, welcomed the signing.
“We welcome this historic agreement to ensure Qatar’s continued access to the world market and to secure its economic stability,” said Ahmed al-Fayez, the foreign affairs minister of the UAE.
Meanwhile, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is Saudi Arabia`s biggest trading partner in the Gulf, said it was also ready to facilitate the return of some business.
Its Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, said he hoped that Qatar could open up to other investors.
“This is an important step towards the opening up of Qatar, especially for our business and the investment opportunities that Qatar offers,” he said.
The Saudi foreign ministry has said it hopes the agreement would open the kingdom to more global investors.
The UAE and Bahrain signed a similar agreement to open Qatar’s ports to foreign investment last year.
Since the blockade began in March last year, there has been a significant increase in international business coming to the kingdom, which has lost more than 80% of its oil output since then.
While Qatar was excluded from the GCC, it was allowed to reopen to the public for business in other GCC countries, including the UAE and Oman.
Last year, Qatar signed a deal to open the country`s airspace and ports to the international aviation industry, which will allow Qatar to open to more international airlines and commercial aircraft.
It has also agreed to allow the country to host a new international airport to accommodate flights from major international airlines.
Despite the blockade, Qatar still has many obstacles to overcome before the country can open up for business again.
A total of 20 international airports remain closed to Qatar due to the blockade.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia have blocked Qatar from joining the GCC.