Qatar receives new Saudi ambassador as the two mend relations

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DUBAI, June 21 (Reuters) - Qatar's foreign minister on Monday received the new Saudi ambassador to Doha, the first to be reinstated by Arab states after they agreed to end a dispute with Qatar earlier this year, state news agency QNA said.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain resolved in January to lift the boycott imposed in mid-2017 and restore political, trade and travel ties with Doha. Riyadh has taken the lead among the four in re-establishing relations.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani welcomed Saudi Ambassador Prince Mansour bin Khalid bin Farhan and assured him of "all support to advance bilateral relations", QNA said.

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Riyadh and Cairo have acted faster to rebuild ties with Doha than the UAE in bilateral talks since the U.S.-backed deal, but all but Bahrain have restored trade and travel links with Doha.

The four nations had accused Qatar of supporting terrorism, a broad allusion to Islamist movements. Doha denied the accusations and said the embargo aimed to curtail its sovereignty.

The United States had felt the feud among its Arab allies benefited only their mutual enemy Iran. In January, heeding outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump's wish to re-establish a united Arab front against Iran, and keen to impress new President Joe Biden, Saudi Arabia declared an end to the boycott of Qatar and said its three allies were on board. read more

Riyadh also stands to benefit economically from the thaw with wealthy, gas-producing Qatar, as does Cairo.

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Writing by Ghaida Ghantous, editing by Louise Heavens

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