Saudi Arabia ‘to open airspace, land and sea border’ with Qatar
Saudi Arabia will reopen its airspace and land and sea border to Qatar as of Monday, Kuwait’s foreign minister said, citing a deal towards resolving a political dispute that led Riyadh and its allies to impose a boycott on Qatar.
“Based on [Kuwait’s ruler Emir] Sheikh Nawaf’s proposal, it was agreed to open the airspace and land and sea borders between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Qatar, starting from this evening,” Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmad Nasser Al-Sabah said on state TV on Monday.
In June 2017, the blockading countries – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt – accused Qatar, among other things, of supporting terrorism and being too close to Iran and severed economic and diplomatic ties. They also imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Qatar.
Qatar has repeatedly denied the allegations and said there was “no legitimate justification” for the severance of relations.
Kuwait has been mediating between Qatar and four Arab states.
Last month, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) said Qatar’s emir was invited to the bloc’s summit meeting next week in Saudi Arabia amid efforts to heal the rifts.
Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani will attend the 41st Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit that takes place in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
Sheikh Tamim had received a formal invitation from Saudi King Salman to the six-nation summit.
In remarks carried by the Saudi state-run news agency on Monday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the GCC summit will be “inclusive”, leading the states toward “reunification and solidarity in facing the challenges of our region”.
Meanwhile, Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, described the upcoming summit as “historic” in a Twitter post.
Translation: “We stand before a historic summit in Al-Ula, through which we restore our Gulf cohesion and ensure that security, stability and prosperity is our top priority. We have more work ahead and we are headed in the right direction.”
Al Jazeera’s Jamal al-Shayyal said Monday’s announcement was “very significant in the sense that it is paving the way to the announcement”.
“One of the pre-conditions the Qataris had was that it made no sense to discuss or sign an agreement as long as it remained under an unjust and illegal blockade,” he added.