Qatar on Thursday said it will restore its diplomatic relations with Iran, and that its ambassador would return to Tehran after nearly 20 months, Reuters reported. Doha said it wanted to strengthen ties with the Islamic republic.

“Qatar announced that its ambassador to Tehran will return to resume diplomatic duties,” the Qatari foreign ministry‘s information office said in a statement. In a telephone call with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani (pictured above) discussed ways to boost bilateral relations between the two countries.

The relations between the two countries were affected in early 2016 over the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric by Saudi Arabia. Protests had erupted in Tehran in which two Saudi officials had also been attacked. Qatar had decided to cut off diplomatic ties with Iran to show solidarity with the kingdom.

The announcement to restore ties with Iran comes amid a diplomatic standoff between Qatar and several Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. The Arab countries have accused Doha of supporting militancy.

The Saudi Arabia-led group had handed Qatar a list of demands, including cutting ties with Iran, handing over extremists and shutting down Al Jazeera. They had also demanded compensation, and called for an end to Turkey’s military presence in Qatar.