Saudi, Qatar to Reopen Land, Maritime Borders after 3 Years of Feud
By Staff, Agencies
Riyadh has reached an agreement with Doha to end a three-year feud by reopening the Saudi airspace and land and sea borders to Qatar as of Monday, Kuwait’s foreign minister said in televised comments.
“An agreement has been reached to open airspace and land and sea borders between Saudi Arabia and Qatar as of this evening,” Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmad Nasser al-Sabah said on Kuwait TV ahead of a Persian Gulf Arab summit in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
Kuwait’s foreign minister said a declaration would be signed at the summit, which was postponed from its usual December date as Riyadh pushed for an agreement toward ending the rift.
The emir of Qatar plans to attend the Tuesday summit in Saudi Arabia at the head of a high-ranking delegation, according to Al Jazeera.
The deal between Riyadh and Doha may put an end to the row in which Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar in mid-2017.
The four boycotting countries had accused Qatar of supporting terrorism. Doha denies the charges and says the embargo aims to curtail its sovereignty.
Doha had been set 13 demands, ranging from closing Al Jazeera television and shuttering a Turkish base to cutting links to the Muslim Brotherhood and downgrading ties with Iran.
Qatar rebuffed the demands as "unreasonable."
The blockade led Qatar to forge closer ties with Iran and Turkey in order to broaden its trade options or reroute its flights.
However, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are now reportedly close to reaching a preliminary deal in a bid to resolve the dispute that has dragged on for three and a half years.
In late December, the foreign ministers of Gulf Arab countries held an online meeting ahead of a summit of Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] to discuss settlement of the diplomatic row with Doha.
The meeting was attended by the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain as well as Qatari Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad Al Muraikhi.