Qatar's Emir to visit Jordan as Amman distances itself from Riyadh

Qatar's Emir to visit Jordan as Amman distances itself from Riyadh
Sheikh Tamim will visit Jordan next week for the first time since 2014, indicating a rapprochement between the two nations since the Qatar blockade in 2017.
2 min read
19 February, 2020
Qatar's Sheikh Tamim Al Thani and Jordan's King Abdullah in 2014 [Getty]
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, will visit Jordan next Sunday, the Qatari embassy in Amman announced on Wednesday, signalling a rapprochement between the two nations following Jordan's cut-back of diplomatic ties with Doha during the launch of the Gulf blockade of 2017.

A meeting is expected between Sheikh Tamim and Jordan's King Abdullah on Sunday, where the pair will sign a number of economic agreements.

The Emir will be accompanied by a high-level delegation, according to Jordanian sources, making it the first visit of its kind since 2014.

Comment: Has Jordan distanced itself from Saudi Arabia?

The visit comes following efforts between the nations to develop relations focused on further economic cooperation, a Jordanian source told The New Arab’s Arabic-language service.

The source added that the region's political developments will also be discussed during the visit.

The trip signals a key change in relations between the two countries, who fell out over the blockade of Qatar waged in July 2017 by a number of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia.

In solidarity with the blockade, Jordan downgraded its ties with Qatar and closed the Amman office of Al Jazeera, indicating the influence Saudi Arabia wields over its neighbour and beneficiary.

However since then, Jordan's parliament has put continuous pressure on the leadership to restore ties. Sunday's high-level visit therefore indicates Saudi influence in Jordan may be waning.

Economic links have remained strong between the two countries despite the blockade, with trade between the pair's private sector estimated at $400m.

Qatar is also the third-largest investor in Jordan, with a $2bn combined stake concentrated mostly in finance and real estate.

The gas-rich kingdom also donated a $500 million aid package to cash-strapped Jordan in 2018 and offered 10,000 job opportunities for Jordanians in Doha.

Jordan's unemployment rate stands at 18.5 percent.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay connected