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The New Arab Staff

Egypt lauds Kuwait's efforts to fix Gulf crisis

Egypt said it hoped the steps to reconciliation would lead to a "comprehensive solution" [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 December, 2020

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Egypt's first official recognition of a much-anticipated end to a three-year diplomatic crisis which pitted Cairo and three Gulf states against Qatar.

Egypt has lauded Kuwait for its "continued efforts" to resolve the Gulf diplomatic crisis, in Cairo's first official statement ahead since talks recently began on resolving the three-year dispute.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Egypt's foreign ministry praised the efforts of Kuwait's crown prince toward "ending the rift" and solving "the crisis between Qatar and states of the Arab quartet", referring to Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.

The ministry said it hoped the steps towards reconciliation would lead to a comprehensive solution which would address the "root causes" of the crisis and guarantees the "strict" commitment of all parties involved.

The official statement, which has been carried by Egypt's state media, is the first since Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan announced on Friday that a resolution to the crisis was in sight, with all nations - including Egypt - "on board".

"We are in full coordination with our partners in this process and the prospects that we see are very positive towards a final agreement," he said, adding that "the eventual resolution will involve all parties concerned".

Kuwait, which is leading mediation efforts, said all sides had expressed keenness for a "final agreement" during recent "fruitful discussions", which have included the United States.

Read also: Gulf reconciliation to take place at annual GCC summit later this month, Kuwaiti diplomat claims

On Saturday, Kuwaiti emir Nayef Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah sent letters to both Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz thanking them both for their efforts to resolve the crisis.

However, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he hoped Washington could broker a resolution but cautioned he was "out of the prediction business in terms of timing".

President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, is reported to have raised the issue and pushed for progress towards ending the spat during a recent visit to Saudi and Qatar.

Saudi Arabia led its allies, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt to cut diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar in June 2017, saying it was too close to Iran and funding radical Islamist movements – charges Doha has staunchly denied.

They subsequently forced out Qataris residing in their countries, closed their airspace to Qatari aircraft and sealed their borders and ports, separating mixed-nationality families.

They also issued a list of 13 demands for Qatar, including shutting down media outlets Al Jazeera and The New Arab and downgrading relations with Turkey.

But the blockade, which was designed to choke Qatar and force it to align with Saudi interests, has only made Doha more self-sufficient and pushed it closer to Iran and Turkey, observers say. It has also hurt Saudi strategic interests.

Asked whether Saudi Arabia would drop or reduce its list of demands on Friday, Prince Faisal said: "The best I can say right now, not to prejudice the ongoing discussions, is that the resolution will be satisfactory to all."

Saudi Arabia's closure of its airspace has forced Qatar Airways to fly over Iran, Riyadh's arch-rival and long-time adversary of Washington, reportedly paying Tehran $100 million annually to do so.

US national security adviser Robert O'Brien said in November that allowing Qatari planes to fly over Saudi Arabia via an "air bridge" was a priority for the outgoing Trump administration.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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