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Saudi opens airspace, borders to Qatar

5 Jan 2021

Monday, a major step towards ending a diplomatic rift that has seen Riyadh lead an alliance isolating Doha.

The bombshell announcement came on the eve of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) annual summit in the northwestern Saudi Arabian city of Alula, where the dispute was already set to top the agenda.

In another sign the three-and-a-half year spat was nearing resolution, the office of Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani said that he would attend, after he skipped the annual meetings for the last three years.

Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, shuttled around the region to seek a deal and attended the signing on Tuesday of the “breakthrough”, a US official said.

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmad Nasser al Sabah announced on state TV that “it was agreed to open the airspace and land and sea borders between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Qatar, starting from this evening.” 

He noted that the agreement was based on a proposal by Kuwaiti emir Sheikh Nawaf al Ahmad al Sabah, reflecting the nation’s repeated efforts to mediate in the crisis.

 

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