Saudi Arabia to reopen borders with Qatar on eve of Gulf summit, says Kuwait

Dubai, Jan 4 (EFE).- Saudi Arabia is to open its border with Qatar, shut since 2017, on Monday on the eve of the 41st Gulf Cooperation Council summit, which will focus on the reconciliation with Doha, the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry announced on Monday.

“It had been agreed to open the air, land and sea space between the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the state of Qatar from tonight,” the Kuwaiti foreign minister Ahmed Naser al-Mohamed al-Sabah said on Monday according to the state-run KUNA news agency.

Kuwait, alongside the United States, has mediated to resolve the fallout.

In 2017, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates severed ties with Qatar, blaming Doha for prioritizing interests of their enemies – Iran and Turkey – accusations the oil-rich country denied.

A few minutes before the Kuwaiti announcement, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman said that the kingdom’s policy “is based on a firm approach based on achieving the supreme interests of the Gulf Cooperation Council”, according to the state-run SPA news agency.

The summit, to be held in the kingdom, will be “unifying and reinforcing the path of good and prosperity … in terms of reunification and solidarity in facing challenges experienced in our region,” he added.

Bin Salman, however, did not mention Qatar or the border reopening.

Qatar ruling Emir, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, received an invitation to the Gulf Cooperation Council summit and will attend, the royal court confirmed on Monday.

Al-Thani has not taken part in a GCC summit since Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed ties with Doha and imposed a blockade on the oil-rich country in 2017.

The Gulf Cooperation Council includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE.

GCC Secretary General Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf welcomed the decision.

“This decision on the eve of the 41st GCC summit is a reflection of sincere efforts being made to ensure the success of tomorrow’s summit across all areas despite the exceptional circumstances created by the pandemic,” he said on a statement issued on the GCC’s website.

“Today’s announcement once again proves that the GCC embodies a deep-rooted partnership that consistently overcomes challenges while advancing the interests of the GCC people thanks to the leadership and wisdom of its leaders,” he added.

EFE oad-ta-ijm/ta-bp

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