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5 Jan, 2021 17:52

Saudi Arabia and Qatar end years-long row with border reopening, resumption of ties

Saudi Arabia and Qatar end years-long row with border reopening, resumption of ties

Full ties have been restored between Saudi Arabia and Qatar after hugs were exchanged between leaders of the two nations at the annual Gulf Cooperation Council summit on Tuesday, ending their three-year-diplomatic dispute.

Riyadh and its allies, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, have agreed to resume relations with Doha, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud told a news conference.

It follows the announcement by Kuwait – a mediator of the talks – on Monday that the four Arab nations would reopen their land, sea and air borders with Qatar.

The countries had cut Qatar off in 2017 over its relationship with Iran, as well as claims that it funded designated terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), allegations it strongly denies.

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Chief of the Arab League of countries, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, welcomed the outcome of the summit, saying that anything that led to "calm and normalcy among Arab countries will be in the interest of the collective Arab unity."

Leaders from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council signed documents on Tuesday recognizing the countries' "solidarity" with one another in the Saudi city of AlUla.

US President Donald Trump's adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner reportedly attended the ceremony, with the US said to have been working behind the scenes on restoring ties between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

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