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The New Arab Staff

UAE obstructed US-backed proposal to end the blockade on Qatar: report

Trump wants to restore Qatar Airways' rights to traverse Saudi Arabian and Emirati airspace. [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 July, 2020

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A deal to resolve the three-year Gulf feud with Qatar was stalled by the UAE, US media reported.

The UAE has caused a delay in a US-backed agreement to end the blockade on Qatar, a report by Fox News said on Thursday.

Citing sources who attended high-level discussions between Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the US, the report said an agreement was about to be reached last week before a last-minute obstruction by the UAE.

In addition to changing its stance, UAE leaders reportedly pressured Saudi Arabia to withhold support for the US-led proposal. 

The blockade on Qatar was imposed by its Gulf neighbours in 2017, when they closed off all borders with Qatar and presented a list of 13 demands.

Among the demands were "downgrading ties with Tehran," while the blockade – which has dragged for over three years – is said to benefit Tehran.

Earlier in the year, the US joined Gulf talks surrounding the Qatar blockade, calling on the neighbouring countries to form a united front against Iran – dubbed a "regional threat" by the US.

Reports last month claimed that US President Donald Trump has made a series of calls to the Saudi leadership - King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - urging them to end the blockade on Qatar.

"Resolving this dispute will open the way to better regional cooperation and would be an instrumental diplomatic breakthrough,"Jonathan Wachtel, global affairs analyst and former communications director to the United States Mission to the United Nations, told Fox News.

Read also: GCC crisis explained: Why is Qatar under blockade by Saudi Arabia and its allies?

Before the blockade, flights into and out of Qatar would pass over Saudi and Emirati airspace. Now, Tehran is generating profit from flights passing through its airspace.

According to Fox News, restoring Qatar Airways' rights to traverse Saudi Arabian and Emirati airspace is an important goal within Trump's campaign on Iran.

"Delay caused by the UAE has temporarily denied the Trump administration a win in the Middle East," Fox News cited analysts as saying.

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