Peace Talks With Qatar Nears Fruition: Report

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Kuwait and the Trump administration played key role in the discussions, aware that energy-rich Qatar had shown itself capable of surviving the blodckade, and was increasingly being drawn into an orbit closer to Turkey and Iran, something the president’s team dreaded…reports Asian Lite

A breakthrough in the three-and-a-half-year dispute between Qatar and its neighbouring Gulf states appears to have been achieved following what were described as “fruitful” talks to resolve the conflict, reports the Guardian.

The Saudi foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, said “significant progress” had been reached in the last few days and he was optimistic all countries were close to finalising a resolution.

In talks brokered jointly by Kuwait and Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Saudi Arabia appears to have agreed to open its land and air border with Qatar as a confidence-building measure.

Qatar has been subject to a political and economic blockade by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, known as the quartet, in a complex dispute turning partly on personal rivalry, and Saudi anger at Qatar’s independent-minded foreign policy.

Earlier, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hailed Kuwait’s mediation efforts to defuse tension between Qatar and several other Gulf countries.

Qatar Emir (R) and Jared Kushner

“The Secretary-General is encouraged by the statement by the foreign minister of Kuwait and other reports that the Gulf rift is close to a resolution,” Xinhua news agency quoted Stephane Dujarric, the UN chief’s spokesman, as saying on Friday.

“The Secretary-General welcomes the efforts and contributions of Kuwait in building bridges of understanding in the Gulf region and beyond,” the spokesman added.

Guterres expressed the hope that all countries involved in the dispute will work together to formally resolve their differences, and stressed the importance of Gulf unity for regional peace, security and development.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed a diplomatic and economic blockade on Qatar since June 2017, alleging that the gas-rich Gulf country supports terrorism and interferes in their domestic affairs.

They have been asking for a list of demands which Qatar has to implement in order to revive ties.

Qatar has repeatedly denied the charges, calling it “unjustified” and “baseless”, and refused the demands, citing them as interference in its sovereignty.

The Trump administration had tried to broker a deal before, aware that energy-rich Qatar had shown itself capable of surviving the blodckade, and was increasingly being drawn into an orbit closer to Turkey and Iran, something the president’s team dreaded. Qatar is the site of the US’s largest military base in the Gulf, said the Guardian report.The Saudi Foreign Minister also openly hailed the efforts of Kuwait and the US in solving the Gulf crisis.

Taking to Twitter on Friday, the Minister said: “We consider with great appreciation the efforts made by Kuwait to bridge the gap in viewpoints regarding the Gulf crisis, and we thank the American efforts in this regard, and we look forward to being crowned with success for the benefit and good of the region.”

The Minister’s tweet was the first official announcement by the Kingdom after recent reports of the end of the crisis, Xinhua news agency reported.

It also came after the statement of Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah on Friday about “fruitful” talks held recently.

“Fruitful discussions took place recently, in which all parties affirmed their keenness on Gulf and Arab solidarity and stability,” he said.

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