Saudi Arabia Will Reopen Borders With Qatar, Easing a Regional Rift

Kuwait, which announced the opening on Monday, also acted as an intermediary. His foreign minister, Sheikh Ahmad Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah, said in a televised statement that the Saudi-Qatar deal would be a “new page in fraternal relations”.

Officials from Saudi Arabia did not immediately confirm that there was an agreement between the two countries.

The decision by the Gulf states in 2017 to cut ties with Qatar, sever diplomatic ties and suspend land, air and sea travel forced the tiny monarchy into an immediate crisis. Trade and commerce, which used to flow smoothly around the Gulf, fell apart; Suddenly, some families could no longer see relatives living on the other side of the gap. Thousands of people had to leave their homes practically overnight to return to Qatar or other countries.

Since then, however, Qatar has relied on its enormous natural gas wealth to become more self-sufficient and forge closer ties with both Iran and Turkey, another enemy of the blockade countries, particularly the United Arab Emirates.

Coupled with pressure from Washington, the path for negotiations has cleared in recent months, and officials on both sides have signaled that talks are moving forward. And analysts said Saudi Arabia may have seen the repair as a way to positively start the kingdom’s relationship with the future Biden government, which threatens to take a tougher stance on Saudi Arabia.

However, some analysts say that there is little evidence that Qatar will change its behavior on the practices that most frustrate its neighbors – neither the megaphone it uses to spread its message and harass its enemies, nor the Al Jazeera -Media network withdrawal from Iran and Turkey.

It could prove wishful thinking to get Qatar to change its relationship with Turkey, “wrote Hussein Ibish, an analyst at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, in December.” Given the number of issues that are likely to remain unsolved in the foreseeable future there is significant potential for future discord and possibly another crisis in Qatari politics. “

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