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The New Arab Staff

GCC plan to resolve transport and trade issues 'within a week' amid reconciliation: UAE

Anwar Gargash is the UAE's foreign minister [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 January, 2021

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UAE has announced that 'practical measures, including travel, transportation, trade' will be resolved between Qatar and the rest of the GCC within a week.
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash has announced that various "practical measures, including travel, transportation, trade" will be resolved between Qatar and blockading countries by the end of next week, in a dramatic development on the warming ties between the Gulf states.

In a media briefing, Gargash urged that the Gulf Coorporation Council (GCC) "expects to move very quickly on other issues", including reopening of missions.

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia and its allies - the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt - cut ties with Qatar, claiming it was too close to Iran and accused it of funding radical Islamist movements - charges Doha staunchly denies.

Read also: Qatar crisis explained: As Gulf states end rift, how did we get here?

Gargash said the "UAE is behind this deal, positive about re-establishing relations with Qatar within the GCC context", saying "we want to do this faster rather than slower".

Leaders of the six-member GCC signed two documents on Tuesday, the Al-Ula Declaration, named after the Saudi city where this year's regional summit was held, and a final communique.

Three GCC members - Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain - took part in the three-and-a-half year blockade, alongside Egypt.

Qatar is also a GCC member state, along with Kuwait and Oman which remained neutral in the spat.

The UAE official stressed that the GCC must now turn over a new leaf and he would want to "bring back momentum in the GCC sails".

The GCC countries are heading towards economic and investment partnership.

Although Gargash admitted that the block has not yet fully agreed on their overall approach "there is an overall agreement on issues of security and stability".

On Turkey, Gargash said: "Our view on the Turkish presence is similar to our view of the Iranian presence in the Arab world… we want to see Turkey as a partner to all and as a country that respects Arab sovereignty and Arab interests in general.

"We want to see a relationship with Turkey on par, of non-interference, on mutually beneficial things."

He stressed that "is a collective view within most Arab countries".

Gargash hailed the GCC's decades long success and expressed hope that a new deal can bring vitality back to the bloc.

"The GCC has been one of the most successful Arab regional groupings. So I expect on the diplomatic front it will go back to its vitality. On the security and political front, there will be a variance of views, which has been the history of the GCC since 1981," he said.

"I expect that on the common market front, on the investment front, there will be full winds blowing into that sail."

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