Gulf States Comply with Ease Relations With Qatar

Representatives of several Gulf states signed an agreement on Tuesday to ease Qatar’s isolation from its Arab neighbors, who have been blocking the country since 2017. This is an important step in ending a divide it has ruled out for years.

The agreement, which was signed by representatives of this kingdom and the five other Gulf Cooperation Council countries at a regional summit in Al Ula, Saudi Arabia, was announced Tuesday afternoon, although few details were immediately available.

The de facto Saudi leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said during the meeting that the agreement emphasized “solidarity and stability in the Gulf, Arab and Islamic countries and strengthening ties of friendship and fraternity between our countries and peoples in a way that serves their hopes and aspirations, ”said the Saudi news agency Al Arabiya.

The deal came a day after Saudi Arabia agreed to reopen its borders and airspace to Qatar for the first time since the blockade began. Qatar has paid an estimated $ 100 million annually for the route of aircraft through Iranian airspace. The money that the United States was determined to stall as it was supposed to prop up Tehran’s weak economy.

Qatar’s neighbors – including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia – have cut off the tiny peninsular country with an air, land and sea embargo after accusing their rulers of supporting terrorism and Islamists in the region and getting closer to get Iran rival to the dominant Saudis. Qatar denied allegations of financing terrorism, claiming it would be unreasonable to sever ties with Tehran, a major trading partner in the Persian Gulf, where the two countries share a critical offshore gas field.

The regional divisions have had far-reaching effects, breaking up interdependent nations, and leaving the United States trapped between allies it relies on for oil and military bases, while obstructing the Trump administration’s attempts to further isolate Iran.

The government had worked behind the scenes for months to initiate a resolution and Mr Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner was part of a delegation that had met with executives in Qatar and Saudi Arabia in recent months.

Mr Kushner, who was attending the Al Ula summit wearing a dark blue face mask adorned with the President’s seal, was featured in photos and videos of the event published by the state news agency in Saudi Arabia.

When the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, arrived for the meeting on Tuesday morning, he was greeted by Prince Mohammed with a carefully choreographed hug, which was featured in a video clip on the Saudi state broadcaster.

The summit itself took place in a Maraya Concert Hall, a sprawling, mirror-clad venue that reflected the surrounding desert sands and blue skies, as the leaders posed together after the signing ceremony.

Prince Mohammed had pointed out reconciliation in a statement on Monday and said that the meeting was intended to “close ranks and unify the stance of the Gulf states”. On Tuesday, he opened the meeting with a speech that indicated a similar tone. He noted that Saudi Arabia would put a unified Gulf region at the top of its priorities and “strengthen bonds of friendship and brotherhood between our countries and peoples in this way serving their hopes and aspirations,” said Al Arabiya.

He also thanked the United States for its mediation efforts and then targeted Iran.

“The threats posed by the Iranian regime’s nuclear program, its ballistic missile program and its destructive missions that it and its proxies are carrying out, and all of its terrorist and sectarian activities aimed at destabilizing the region are the greatest challenge.” the region, he said.

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