Sat. Mar 6th, 2021



Saudi Arabia has agreed to reopen its airspace and land and sea borders to Qatar, according to officials in the region, who signaled a possible breakthrough toward a resolution to the yearslong diplomatic fight between the Gulf Arab monarchies.

Kuwaiti officials, who’ve been mediating for a solution to the so-called Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC, crisis, announced the development ahead of a council meeting slated to occur Tuesday in Saudi Arabia.

“An agreement has been reached to open airspace and land and sea borders between Saudi Arabia and Qatar as of this evening,” Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmad Nasser al-Sabah said Monday on Kuwait TV, according to news agency reports.

Saudis officials had not immediately confirmed the statement as of Monday evening Middle East time, but the Kuwaiti comments appeared to reflect a breakthrough in talks toward resolving a dispute that has roiled the U.S.-allied GCC since 2017.

The council became mired in a diplomatic crisis that year when key members Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates — along with Egypt — banded together to impose an economic and diplomatic blockade against Qatar over what they claimed was Qatari support for jihadi groups and excessive deference to Iran.

Qatar claimed the charges were baseless. But the flap has for years presented a sticky challenge for Washington, which maintains America’s most strategic Mideast military base in Qatar.

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