Home News Qatar disaster: Gulf states vow ‘solidarity’ as Saudis finish embargo

Qatar disaster: Gulf states vow ‘solidarity’ as Saudis finish embargo

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Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is greeted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on arrival in al-Ula, Saudi Arabia (5 January 2021)

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picture captionQatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Thani was greeted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on arrival in al-Ula

Gulf Arab leaders have signed an settlement on “solidarity and stability” at a summit aimed toward ending an embargo in opposition to Qatar by its neighbours.

The contents of the doc weren’t instantly launched.

However Qatar’s emir was embraced by the Saudi crown prince when he flew to al-Ula, a day after Saudi Arabia reopened its airspace and borders to Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt reduce ties with Qatar in 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

The tiny, gas- and oil-rich state denied the accusation and rejected the circumstances for ending the partial blockade, together with closing the Doha-based Al Jazeera broadcast community.

In latest months, Kuwaiti and US mediators stepped up efforts to finish the stand-off.

  • How is Qatar coping with its economic embargo?

  • Qatar country profile

“These efforts helped us attain the settlement of the al-Ula assertion that will probably be signed at this summit, the place we affirm our Gulf, Arab and Islamic solidarity and stability,” Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stated in a gap speech.

“There’s a determined want as we speak to unite our efforts to advertise our area and to confront challenges that encompass us, particularly the threats posed by the Iranian regime’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme and its plans for sabotage and destruction,” he added.

The lifting of the embargo on Qatar has taken months of affected person, painstaking diplomacy, largely by Kuwait, however with more and more pressing prodding from the White Home because the Trump presidency attracts to an in depth.

The three-and-a-half yr “blockade” has been immensely pricey to each Qatar’s financial system and to the notion of Gulf unity. Qataris won’t forgive or overlook in a rush what they see as a stab within the again by their Gulf Arab neighbours.

However past the diplomatic rhetoric one nation specifically – the UAE – has grave doubts that Qatar is definitely going to alter its methods. Whereas Qatar denies supporting terrorism it has supported political Islamist actions in Gaza, Libya and elsewhere, notably the transnational Muslim Brotherhood which the UAE views as an existential menace to its monarchy.

In the meantime, the embargo has, if something, pushed Qatar nearer to Saudi Arabia’s ideological enemies: Turkey and Iran.

What was the dispute about?

Qatar has lengthy practised an formidable international coverage with completely different priorities to another Gulf states, however there are two key points which have angered its neighbours prior to now decade.

One is Qatar’s assist for Islamists. Qatar acknowledges offering help to Islamist teams designated as terrorist organisations by a few of its neighbours, notably the Muslim Brotherhood. But it surely denies aiding jihadist teams linked to al-Qaeda or the Islamic State group (IS).

picture copyrightGetty Photographs
picture captionCentred on its capital Doha, Qatar has a inhabitants of two.6 million, however solely about 300,000 of those are Qatari nationals

The opposite key concern is Qatar’s relations with Iran, with which it shares the world’s largest fuel discipline. The Shia Muslim energy is Sunni Muslim-ruled Saudi Arabia’s foremost regional rival.

Who reduce hyperlinks with Qatar?

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, severed all diplomatic and commerce ties.

Qatar’s solely land border was closed; ships flying the Qatari flag or these serving Qatar have been banned from docking at many ports; and far of the area’s airspace was closed to Qatari plane.

The international locations introduced Qatar with 13 calls for as circumstances for ending the embargo. They included closing the Doha-based Al Jazeera satellite tv for pc community, downgrading diplomatic ties with Iran, closing a Turkish navy base in Qatar, and ending “interference” in different international locations’ inside affairs.

media captionQatar’s international minister interviewed in 2018

Qatar refused to conform, saying it will not comply with “give up” its sovereignty and that the “blockade” by its neighbours violated worldwide regulation.

The emirate shortly established new commerce routes with Iran and Turkey to make sure the fundamental wants of its inhabitants of two.7 million have been met, and used its oil and fuel wealth to prop up its financial system.

Two states within the six-member Gulf Co-operation Council didn’t reduce ties with Qatar – Kuwait and Oman. Kuwait served as a mediator within the dispute.

What led to the breakthrough?

US President Donald Trump unexpectedly sided with Saudi Arabia and its allies initially of the dispute, denouncing Qatar as a “funder of terror” regardless of the emirate internet hosting the most important American navy facility within the Center East, al-Udeid airbase.

However Mr Trump’s aides subsequently persuaded him to take a extra impartial stance, and in 2018 he praised Sheikh Tamim’s work on combating terrorist financing at a White Home assembly.

Kuwaiti mediation efforts appeared to make little progress till late final yr, when the Trump administration intensified strain on all sides for an finish to the stand-off that thwarted their efforts to assemble an alliance of Sunni-led states to counter Iran and its proxies.

Mr Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner visited Saudi Arabia and Qatar in December, and reportedly flew to al-Ula on Monday to attend the summit.

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