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DOHA: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) president arrived in Qatar on Monday in the first such visit since Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies ended a boycott of Doha nearly two years ago.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the UAE’s de facto ruler for years before becoming president in May, was met on arrival in Doha by Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, whose country is hosting soccer’s World Cup, the emir’s office said.

“The visit comes based on the brotherly ties that link the two countries and their people,” UAE state agency WAM reported.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt early last year ended a 3-1/2 year embargo of Qatar, but ties between Abu Dhabi and Doha have not warmed at the same pace as Riyadh and Cairo, who re-established diplomatic ties with Doha.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and Egypt’s president attended the opening World Cup ceremony in Doha on Nov. 20 while the UAE sent Dubai’s ruler, who is also the Gulf state’s vice-president.

The political dispute that had seen Riyadh and its allies sever all ties with Qatar, over its support for militant groups they deem a threat to Gulf dynastic rule and its ties with rivals Iran and Turkey, had shattered the six-nation Gulf bloc.

UAE National Day: Dubai ruler lauds achievements, says ‘new world order’ taking shape

Both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have since moved to engage with Shia Muslim Iran in a bid to contain tensions and mend ties with Turkey as they focus on economic development.

UAE National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan visited Doha twice as part of Abu Dhabi’s push to manage regional differences.

Bahrain and Qatar have yet to hold bilateral talks.

Abu Dhabi, like Manama, has not appointed an envoy to Doha, but restored travel and trade links between the UAE and Qatar.

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