The government of Maldives announced Tuesday its decision to reinstate full diplomatic relations with Qatar, nearly three years after the island nation severed ties with the Gulf nation.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid made the declaration just hours after Saudi Arabia announced that the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt were joining it in re-establishing ties with Qatar, during the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)'s annual summit held earlier the same day.
Shahid stated that Maldives welcomed the positive developments that followed the GCC summit.
The leaders of the GCC signed two documents on Tuesday, the Al-Ula Declaration and a final communique, to reinstate ties with Qatar. In addition to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar, the council includes Oman and Kuwait, which were neutral amid the Saudi-Qatar fallout.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman declared that the development affirmed "our Gulf, Arab and Islamic solidarity and stability".
Saudi Arabia first announced that the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt joined it in cutting ties and transport links with Qatar on June 5, 2017. The four nations had alleged that Qatar backed radical extremist organisations and rebel groups backed by Riyadh's rival Iran, which Doha had denied.
Maldives had followed suit hours after Saudi's announcement, giving rise to rumours that the government, then under the presidency of Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, had been influenced by Saudi Arabia. However, the state had refuted the allegation and public criticism, maintaining that the decision was made on authority accorded to the president in the Constitution after extensive discussions with his Cabinet, and under Maldives’ policy against the supporters of terrorism and extremism.
Reinstating diplomatic ties with Qatar was one of the electoral pledges of incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's government. Foreign Minister Shahid had assured in July 2019 that attempts to fulfil the pledge were underway.