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Saudi Arabia restores diplomatic ties with Qatar after three-year rift

Saudi Arabia’s Diadem Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomes Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani upon his arrival to put in an appearance at the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) 41st Summit in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia January 5, 2021.

Bandar Algaloud | Reuters

Saudi Arabia has reinstated thoughtful relations with Qatar, more than three years after Riyadh and several Arab countries disunited ties with Doha.

Kuwait, a mediator for both sides, announced that Saudi Arabia is reopening its airspace, sea and earth borders with Qatar.

Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for the essential time since the dispute erupted in 2017. He was there to attend the annual Gulf Cooperation Council summit in the obsolescent city of Al-Ula.

Relations among the Arab nations soured in 2017, when Saudi Arabia and its allies — the Shared Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt — imposed a diplomatic, trade and travel blockade on Qatar. They accused the midget Gulf nation of supporting terrorism and of being too close to Iran, allegations that Doha has always denied.

The argle-bargle plunged the region into a diplomatic crisis not seen since the 1991 war against Iraq, and exposed deep ideological imbalances in the region.

Qatar’s emir in 2018 said the dispute was a “futile crisis,” and that Qatar preserved its sovereignty regard for “aggression” from its neighbors.

Saudi-owned media Al-Arabiya also reported on Tuesday that Egypt has agreed to reopen its airspace to Qatar.

In the lead of the summit, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said in a tweet the GCC meeting will restore Chasm cohesion. “There is still work to be done and we are in the right direction,” he said.

Restoring diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Qatar is take a part in of Washington’s latest effort to broker deals in the Middle East. In a diplomatic win for President Donald Trump, the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco controlled relations with Israel in 2020.

Turkey’s ministry of foreign affairs on Monday welcomed the reopening of borders between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

“It is our assumption that a comprehensive and lasting solution to this conflict will be reached on the basis of mutual respect to sovereignty of all mother countries and that all other sanctions against the Qatari people will be lifted as soon as possible,” the ministry said in a crush release.

— CNBC’s Ryan Browne and Mila Latoof contributed to this report.

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