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Trump official confirms breakthrough in ending Gulf crisis

Qatar has been blockaded for three years [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 January, 2021

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It comes after borders between Qatar and Saudi Arabia were reopened.
The Gulf crisis, which saw a three-year Saudi-led blockade on the state of Qatar, is close to being resolved, a US official confirmed on Monday.

Saudi Arabia is lifting its air and land restrictions to Qatar on the eve of a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit due to take place in the kingdom on Tuesday, according to a statement from Kuwait.

The pan-Gulf meeting is seen as a key turning point in the crisis which began on 5 June 2017 with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain launched a blockade on Qatar by land, sea and air.

Saudi media have reported that Egypt is also opening its airspace to Qatari flights but other quartet members are yet to announce similar measures.

Kuwait Foreign Minister Ahmad Nasser Al-Sabah said on Monday evening that Saudi Arabia would re-open its borders to Qatar, effectively ending the kingdom's blockade on its neighbour marking a major development in the three-year crisis.

Read also: Qatar emir lands in Saudi Arabia for GCC summit amid breakthrough in Gulf crisis

The six nation body is expected to announce a resolution, which has seen Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt blockade Qatar by land, sea and air since June 2017, the US official told Reuters.

"It's just a massive breakthrough," the US official told the agency. "The blockade will be lifted. It will allow for travel amongst the countries as well as goods. It will lead to more stability in the region."

US President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner has pushed for a resolution to the crisis and will attend the summit. Trump leaves office on 20 January and will be replaced by Democrat Joe Biden.

The Gulf states are expected to sign an agreement at the summit, which will take place in Saudi Arabia's Al-Ula, officially ending the crisis although analysts say it will still take time to heal the rifts.

Turkey - a key ally of Doha - has welcomed Riyadh's decision to open its airspace to Qatari planes and said it hopes for a complete end to the crisis soon.

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