The president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) arrived today surprisingly in Qatar - the host country of this year's World Cup, the Associated Press reported.

It is the Emirati leader's first visit to Qatar since four Arab countries launched a boycott against him several years ago over a political dispute that has soured relations in the region.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the emir of Abu Dhabi, arrived in Qatar at the invitation of his emir - Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the UAE news agency - UAM reported.

"The visit builds on the existing fraternal relations between the two countries and their peoples," the UAM brief said.

According to many analysts, it was Sheikh Mohammed who was one of the politicians who planned the boycott against Qatar.

It started in 2017 and involved Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

At the height of the Qatari crisis, one could even read in the papers a proposal to dig a canal along its 87-kilometer border and fill it with nuclear waste.

Although it was only a spectacular threat, it showed how deep anger ran in the region at the height of the dispute, which Kuwait's then leader said almost led to war.

The conflict arose over the stance of Qatar, which supports Islamists who came to power in Egypt and elsewhere in the region after the Arab Spring of 2011. Qatar Qatar saw their rise to power as a profound change in the gerontocracy ruling the Middle East, but other Arab Gulf states saw the protests as a threat to their autocratic and hereditary rule, AP notes.

World Cup 2022: Iran, Khamenei and the Basij

During the 2011 protests, Saudi Arabia and the UAE sent troops to help quell demonstrations in Bahrain.

The boycott, in which the four countries closed air and sea routes to Qatar, did not end until January 2021, just before the inauguration of US President Joe Biden

Joe Biden (Joseph Robin Biden) is an American politician. Joe Biden was born on November 20, 1942 in

The boycott began immediately after then-President Donald Trump's visit to the region

Donald Trump - American businessman and politician Donald Trump was born on June 14, 1946 in New York, at the beginning of his presidential term.

Donald Trump

Joe Biden