Ethiopia, Qatar renew diplomatic relations


Ethiopia and the small oil- rich gulf kingdom of Qatar, which borders the regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia, are set to establish full diplomatic relations after more than four years of  interruption  triggered by Qatar’s disruptive role in the Horn of Africa region, especially in regards to Somalia, 
Ambassador Dina Mufti, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, said the decision was made to restore full diplomatic ties after a long process of dialogue made between the two countries to solve the various differences they had. “We expect Qatar to send their new Ambassador to Addis Ababa this month” said Dina, adding that they are currently working on preparations to reopen their embassy and that Ethiopia will also be posting its new Ambassador to Qatar soon, although he declined to give any details on the name or potential candidate for the post of Ethiopian Ambassador to Qatar who will be stationed in its capital city, Doha.
He also said that he expects the restoration of full diplomatic ties with the small gulf kingdom to lead to the reopening of other channels such as the reinvigoration of business ties between the two countries as well as the possibility that Ethiopians will be able to apply for visas to travel and work in the country and vice versa.
Ethiopia and Qatar had severed diplomatic relations in  mid-2008 after Ethiopia accused Qatar of being a destabilizing force in neighbouring Somalia and supporting militant Islamic groups which Ethiopian forces were battling at the time before their withdrawal in January 2009.
Qatar’s close connection with the red sea state of Eritrea with which Ethiopia fought a bitter border war between 1998-2000 costing an estimated 70,000 lives and which Ethiopia accuses of supporting outlawed rebel groups as part of proxy war against it was also a source of tension between the two nations as well as the gulf kingdom’s hosting of Ethiopian rebel groups like the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).