Saudi Arabia will reopen its land and sea borders with Qatar, in the first steps to end a diplomatic crisis that has deeply divided America’s regional allies since 2017.
The Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry announced the move on Monday, as part of an agreement to resolve a political dispute that prompted Riyadh and its allies to impose a boycott of Qatar.
Kuwait’s state News agency reported the announcement, saying that Saudi Arabia would open its borders with Qatar starting Monday night. According to various reports, Qatar will, in return, withdraw its lawsuits against Riyadh and its allies, as part of a broader deal to ease tensions, to be signed on Tuesday.
Qatar’s only land border has been mostly closed since mid-2017, when Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain launched a blockade against the small Gulf state, accusing it of supporting Islamist groups in the region and of have warm ties with Iran. . Kuwait has been mediating between Qatar and the four Arab states.
The lifting of the embargo by Saudi Arabia paves the way for the ruler of Qatar to attend a summit of Gulf leaders on Tuesday that will take place in the desert city of Al-Ula and will be chaired by the Saudi monarch, the King Salman.
The summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will be “inclusive,” leading states towards “reunification and solidarity to meet the challenges of our region,” Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in statements made by the Saudi government. News agency.
UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Vargas said he welcomed “a return to GCC unity at tomorrow’s summit.”
The decision by America’s close allies comes in the final days of the Trump administration’s term, and just before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Bader Alistair, an assistant professor of history at the University of Kuwait, suggested that Trump’s team claimed disproportionate credit for ending the confrontation.
” It is quite amazing how the current US government is trying to extract the ‘achievements’ from the region before departing, either in its push for the standardization agreements or now claiming the current advance,” Saif said on TwitterHe added that while the Trump administration “played a role alongside Kuwait,” it had also been “part of the problem.”
Many Gulf experts have argued that the personal support of Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner for the Saudi crown prince encouraged Riyadh to attempt absolute dominance over Qatar four years ago. Karen Young, American Enterprise Institute Researcher in Residence and Gulf Political Economy Scholar, argued that “ The advance probably has more to do with a change in reality in Washington and Saudi Arabia’s need fore calibrationon; as well as the modified fiscal reality of the GCC states “.
Young said Qatar was needed in the GCC “tent,” but noted that Gulf rivals’ broader views for the region were still at odds.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism