• publish: 5 January 2021
  • time: 11:36 am
  • category: International
  • No: 16508
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Breakthrough expected in Gulf dispute with Qatar

A breakthrough has been reached in Qatar’s three-year-old dispute with Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries and an agreement aimed at ending their rift is to be signed in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, a senior Trump administration official said.

Reuters reported the development is the latest in a series of Middle East deals sought by Washington – the others involving Israel and Arab states – aimed at building a united front against Iran.

As part of the deal, Saudi Arabia will reopen its airspace and land and sea border to Qatar as of Monday, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmad Nasser al-Sabah said on Kuwait TV ahead of a Gulf Arab summit in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

Saudi state agency SPA quoted Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as saying the annual gathering of Gulf leaders would unite Gulf ranks “in the face of challenges facing the region”.

Qatar’s ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, will attend, the royal court said.

According to Reuters, the US official said the Saudi crown prince and Qatari emir would sign the deal.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed a diplomatic, trade and travel embargo on Qatar since mid-2017 accusing it of supporting terrorism.

However, Qatar denies it.

Under the proposed agreement, Qatar will suspend lawsuits related to the blockade, the official told Reuters.

All of the countries involved in the deals are US allies.

Qatar hosts the region’s largest US military base, Bahrain is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, and Saudi Arabia and the UAE host US troops.

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