Gulf neighbours agree to lift blockade on Qatar

Kuwait Amir appreciates efforts exerted to support joint Gulf and Arab action

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Nasser announced in a statement broadcast on the Kuwaiti T.V. that the two countries agreed on the Kuwaiti proposal to resume the airspace, land, and sea traffic.

The Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani will head the delegation of the State of Qatar to participate in the Gulf Cooperation Council Summit tomorrow in Saudi Arabia, the Amiri Diwan announced today.

Qatar's only land border has been mostly closed since mid-2017, when Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain launched a blockade against the tiny Gulf state, accusing it of supporting Islamist groups in the region and of having warm ties with Iran.

The Qatari Emir will also attend the summit, his first visit to the country in three years.

The state-run Kuwait News Agency reported the announcement, saying that Saudi Arabia would open its borders with Qatar starting Monday evening.

The lifting of the embargo by Saudi Arabia paves the way for Qatar's ruler to attend a summit of Gulf leaders Tuesday that will be held in the kingdom's desert city of Al-Ula. Qatar denies it and says the embargo aims to undermine its sovereignty.

The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council and Egypt "will be coming together to sign an agreement that will end the blockade and put an end to the Qatari lawsuits", the official said.

"This is the biggest breakthrough we've had to date", an unidentified senior Trump administration official told the Wall Street Journal.

"Turkey welcomes the resolution of the Gulf crisis, appreciates Kuwait and other worldwide mediators efforts to resolve the crisis between Qatar and Saudi Arabia", the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, assigned to work on the dispute by US President Donald Trump, helped negotiate the deal and was working the phones on it until the wee hours of Monday morning, the official said.

When in December Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said a resolution to the dispute seemed within reach, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a Twitter post said he hoped Gulf reconciliation "contributes to stability and political and economic development for all peoples of our region".

Mr Kushner previously succeeded in brokering recognition of Israel by four Arab states led by the United Arab Emirates.

Trump dispatched his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner to the Gulf region last month to work on finding a solution to the rift between Washington's allies before the United States president's term expires on 20 January.

"[The] Crown Prince reasserted that the upcoming GCC summit shall be a summit to close the ranks and unify the stance and to enhance the march of the good and prosperity", the kingdom's official news agency SPA said in a statement. "It will lead to more stability in the region".

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