On 5 January 2021, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, along with Egypt, signed the “Al-Ula Declaration” at the 41st GCC Summit held in the city of Al-Ula, paving the way for the re-establishment of political and economic ties with the State of Qatar. This marks the end of a three-year dispute which began on 5 June 2017, and reinforces the commitment of the GCC member states to the political and economic stability of the region.

The breakthrough agreement follows the re-opening of Saudi Arabia’s airspace and land and sea borders with Qatar starting 4 January. We are confirming changes in policy and procedures with the relevant authorities and ministries in the GCC and Egypt in light of these developments.

The official text of the “Al-Ula Declaration” has yet to be made public. We will provide further updates as implementation of the agreement takes hold and as official statements and circulars are issued.

Please feel free to contact one of the lawyers below or your usual Baker McKenzie contact if you have any queries in the meantime. 

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Ian Siddell is the Head of the Banking & Finance practice in the Gulf and is the Co-Managing Partner of the Bahrain and Doha offices and the associated offices in Riyadh and Jeddah. Ian has been residing in the Gulf since 1996, and has specialised in banking and finance matters since he qualified as an English solicitor in 1986 with a particular focus on Islamic finance and project finance. He also has extensive experience in acting on multi-sourced and ECA supported financings.


Mohsin Iqbal is is a partner in the Firm’s Global Projects and Banking & Finance practice groups, based in the Dubai and Doha offices. With over nine years' experience in the GCC region (including eight years on the ground in Doha), he has a broad finance practice covering transactional banking, project finance (both finance and development aspects), acquisition finance, Islamic finance (including Sukuk transactions) as well as multi-sourced and ECA-supported financings.


Borys has been a partner of Baker McKenzie since 1995, and is the Managing Partner of our UAE offices. He is Head of the Investigations, Compliance & Ethics practice in the Middle East and is co-chair of the Investigations, Compliance & Ethics Steering Committee for the EMEA region. He regularly advises clients across various industries on a broad range of compliance-related matters, including sanctions, anti-bribery, and anti-money laundering policies and programs.