0409 GMT January 27, 2020
Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said that Qatar will not forget Iran’s help following a blockage imposed by some Arab countries on the Persian Gulf country.
Addressing the Mediterranean Dialogues Forum in Rome on Friday, the Qatari official said that Doha was committed to good-neighborly relations with Tehran and will not forget that Iran opened its airspace to Qatar after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a land, air and sea blockade on Qatar in June 2017, according to Al Jazeera.
The four countries cut off diplomatic ties with Doha, accusing it of supporting “terrorism.” Qatar has repeatedly denied the accusations.
At the time, the quartet set 13 demands for lifting the blockade, including the closing down of Al Jazeera Media Network, shuttering a Turkish military base and reducing ties with Iran.
Relations between Tehran and Qatar improved following political tensions heightened between Qatar and the Arab countries.
Less than three months after the blockage imposed on Qatar, Doha sent its ambassador back to Tehran. Qatar had recalled him in 2016 as a sign of solidarity with Riyadh amid the crisis in Iranian-Saudi relations following the Saudi execution of a prominent Shia leader and attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran.
Qatar decided to use Iran’s airspace and shipping routes to circumvent the blockade imposed by the four Arab states.
In June 2017, Iran said Qatari aircraft bound for Europe or Africa can fly over Iran’s territory. It also increased its exports to the Arab country.
Qatar had many of its imports trans-shipped from the UAE and received the bulk of its fresh food across the Saudi border before the two countries as well as Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Doha.
Elsewhere in his remarks on Friday, Qatar's foreign minister hoped for "progress" in the efforts to resolve the Persian Gulf diplomatic crisis following talks with Saudi Arabia, adding that the parties have "moved from a stalemate" in the two-year dispute.
"We have moved from a stalemate to some progress where ... some talks took place between us and specifically Saudi," said the Qatari foreign minister.
“We hope that these talks will lead to our progress where we can see an end to the crisis.”