World News – United States – Kuwait says Saudi Arabia will reopen borders with Qatar

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The Kuwait announcement has not been confirmed by Saudi Arabia, which has led a Gulf boycott against Qatar for more than three years.

CAIRO – After a rift that shattered the Arab world and has put American diplomacy to the test for more than three years, Saudi Arabia should reopen the borders and airspace to Qatar on Monday evening after the boycott since 2017, the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister announced on Monday.

The announcement could be a first step in ending Qatar’s isolation from its Arab neighbors such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt.

The opening, announced the day before a summit of the Gulf States in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, would allow trade and travel between Qatar and the Kingdom for the first time since Qatar’s June 2017 blockade by Qatar and the Kingdom Rulers accuse terrorism and Islamists in the region and get too close to Iran, their enemy.

Saudi Crown Prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman said in a statement released Monday by the kingdom’s official news agency that the summit would « close ranks and unify the stance of the Gulf states », suggesting reconciliation should be consequences. It also pointed to the Saudis’ hope that a united front could counter Iran.

Little has changed since 2017, however, to address the grievances of Saudi Arabia and its allies about Qatar and what the boycott did – and whether a resolution that failed to resolve the underlying disputes came from Duration is.

In Washington, the announcement was viewed as good news. During the transition from one American president to another, the deal comes to a rare overlap of interests for President Trump, whose administration has urged his allies to end the dispute and unite against Iran, and President-elect Joseph R.. . Biden Jr. . whose team would prefer not to inherit a crisis centered on one of the most strategic regions in the world.

Hoping to see Iran before the end of Mr.. . Trump’s presidency and government officials have concertedly urged Saudi Arabia and its allies to negotiate with Qatar in recent months. The president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, visited Doha and Riyadh in December to persuade golf officials. Kuwait, which announced the opening on Monday, also acted as an intermediary.

Kuwait’s foreign minister, Sheikh Ahmad Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah, said in a televised statement that there was an agreement between Saudi Arabi and Qatar that was « a new side in fraternal relations ». ”

Officials from Saudi Arabia and Qatar did not immediately confirm that an agreement existed between the two countries.

The decision by the Gulf states in 2017 to cut ties with Qatar, sever diplomatic ties and suspend land, air and sea travel forced the tiny monarchy into an immediate crisis. Trade and commerce, which used to flow smoothly around the Gulf, fell apart; Suddenly, some families could no longer see relatives living on the other side of the gap. Thousands of people had to leave their homes practically overnight to return to Qatar or other countries.

Since then, however, Qatar has relied on its enormous natural gas wealth to become more self-sufficient and forge closer ties with both Iran and Turkey, another enemy of the blockade countries, especially the United Arab Emirates.

Coupled with pressure from Washington, the path for negotiations has become clearer in recent months, with officials on both sides signaling that they are in talks. And analysts said Saudi Arabia may have seen the repair as a way to begin the kingdom’s relationship with the future Biden government, which threatens to take a tougher stance on Saudi Arabia.

However, some analysts say that there is little evidence that Qatar will change its behavior on the practices that most frustrate its neighbors – including the megaphone it uses to spread its message and its enemies, the Al Jazeera media, harassed network, are still moving away from Iran and Turkey.

Getting Qatar to change its relationship with Turkey « could prove wishful thinking, » wrote Hussein Ibish, an analyst at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, in December. “Given the number of issues that are likely to remain unsolved, there is considerable potential for future discord and possibly another crisis in Qatari politics in the foreseeable future. ”

According to mr. Al-Sabah, the agreement stipulates that Saudi Arabia will allow Qatar Airways to fly over its airspace, which would have both geopolitical and symbolic weight: Not only would Qatar planes spend less time traveling winding routes from Doha fly to avoid the airspace out of bounds. However, Iran would lose up to $ 100 million in annual fees. Qatar has instead paid for the flight over Iran, at a time when the Iranian economy is already suffering from severe American sanctions.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Gulf Cooperation Council, Kuwait, Persian Gulf, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain

World News – USA – Kuwait says Saudi Arabia will re-border borders with Qatar to open

Ref: https://www.nytimes.com

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