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4 Jan, 2021 22:55

Saudi Arabia may end blockade of Qatar after Trump adviser Jared Kushner brokers deal

Saudi Arabia may end blockade of Qatar after Trump adviser Jared Kushner brokers deal

Land, air and sea borders between Saudi Arabia and Qatar will reportedly reopen ahead of the upcoming Gulf Cooperation Council summit. The US-brokered deal ends the diplomatic standoff that began in June 2017.

Riyadh will open the borders on Monday night, multiple media outlets reported, citing Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah. Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates will also lift their blockade of Qatar, while Doha will abandon its legal challenges to the embargo, according to Israeli public radio.

All sides have also reportedly pledged to end “media campaigns” against each other. Qatar owns Al Jazeera, a major international news network. 

A formal agreement will be signed at the GCC summit that is scheduled to begin in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. Emir Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, the ruler of Qatar, is expected to attend – for the first time since the diplomatic crisis broke out in 2017. 

Also in attendance will be Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s envoy for the Middle East and White House adviser who reportedly helped broker the deal. Kushner was working the phones until early on Monday morning, negotiating the last details of the agreement, a White House official told reporters on a background call. 

Kushner had visited Doha and Riyadh last month, meeting with both Emir Tamim of Qatar and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. 

The kingdom and its Gulf allies imposed an embargo against Qatar in early June 2017 – just days after Trump’s visit to the region – accusing the al-Thani dynasty of sympathies for Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists and Iran. The dispute proved awkward for the US, which has troops and bases in Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Saudi news agency SPA quoted Prince Mohammed bin Salman as saying the GCC summit would unite the Gulf “in the face of challenges facing the region,” presumably referring to Iran.

Also on rt.com Trump plotting false flag to ‘fabricate pretext’ for attack on Iran, Foreign Minister Zarif says

Appealing to mutual hostility towards Tehran, Kushner brokered a series of deals between Middle Eastern states and Israel last year, starting with the UAE in August, followed by Bahrain in September and Sudan in October. Saudi Arabia has not formally joined what was dubbed the ‘Abraham Accords’.

However, Axios cited an anonymous Gulf Arab diplomat who said that while some of the issues between Qatar and the GCC were solved, the “root causes” still remain, including “bad personal relationships between the leaders and big policy differences on Iran, Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

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