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Tuesday 5 January 2021

Saudi Arabia and Allies to Restore Full Ties with Qatar

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AL-ULA, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) — Saudi Arabia and its three Arab allies agreed to restore full ties with Doha at a summit in the kingdom on Tuesday, the Saudi foreign minister said.

Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud told a news conference after the gathering of Gulf Arab states, also attended by Egypt, that there was political will and good faith to guarantee implementation of the agreement to restore diplomatic and other ties, including resumption of flights.

On Monday, Qatar and Saudi Arabia agreed to resolution of the crisis brokered by Kuwait and United States. Saudi Arabia will reopen its border with Qatar and begin the process for reconciliation.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani arrived today in Saudi Arabia for a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit that may yield further progress in resolving the crisis. Later, the leaders signed the Al-Ula statement. Before the signing, Bin Salman said that Kuwait and the United States support had resulted in “the Al-Ula declaration agreement that will be signed at this blessed summit, in which the Gulf, Arab and Islamic solidarity and stability were emphasized.”

The Qatar diplomatic crisis began on 5 June 2017 when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic relations with Qatar and banned Qatar-registered planes and ships from utilising their airspace and sea routes along with Saudi Arabia blocking Qatar’s only land crossing. They were later joined by Jordan and were supported by the Maldives, Mauritania, Senegal, Djibouti, the Comoros, Yemen, and the Tobruk-based government in Libya.

The Saudi-led coalition cited Qatar’s alleged support for terrorism as the main reason for their actions, alleging that Qatar had violated a 2014 agreement with the members of the GCC, of which Qatar is a member. Saudi Arabia and other countries have criticized Al Jazeera and Qatar’s relations with Iran. Qatar acknowledged that it had provided assistance to some Islamist groups (such as the Muslim Brotherhood), but denied aiding militant groups linked to al-Qaeda or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Qatar also claimed that it had assisted the United States in the War on Terror and the ongoing military intervention against ISIL.

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