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Saturday, 27 February 2021

Saudi Arabia and allies to realign with Qatar

Duration: 01:49s 0 shares 2 views
Saudi Arabia and allies to realign with Qatar
Saudi Arabia and allies to realign with Qatar

Embracing Qatar's ruler, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince pushed a deal to end a bitter row with Doha at a Gulf Arab summit on Tuesday to try to shore up an anti-Iran front, although a final declaration contained only a general pledge of solidarity.

Bryan Wood reports.

At a summit for Gulf leaders on Tuesday (January 5), Saudi Arabia pushed a deal that would end a long-running dispute with Qatar.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister Faisal Bin Farhan Al-Saud promised to end a boycott imposed on Doha in 2017 with the aim of strengthening an Arab alliance against Iran.

"Today... is a complete erasing of all disagreements and a full restoration of diplomatic ties… It will hopefully be a strong pillar for the future and stability of the region." Member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Egypt severed ties with Qatar in 2017 over allegations that Doha supported Iranian-backed terrorism.

Qatar denied the claims. In response to the Saudi foreign minister's statement at the Gulf Summit, Qatar's counterpart tweeted that the two countries have "closed the page on disagreement." The negotiations follow mediation efforts by the United States and Kuwait as both Saudi Arabia and Qatar share military ties to the U.S. and tension with Iran.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States welcomed the proposed deal, calling it a "breakthrough to restore Gulf and Arab unity." Washington is keen on pushing for a united Gulf front to contain the actions of Iran.

Although Saudi Arabia's statement has signaled hope for mending its relationship with Qatar, Al-Saud shared no detailed confirmation of a deal.

Diplomats and analysts say Saudi Arabia is also pushing for the deal to show U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, who will be inaugurated in two weeks, that Riyadh is open to dialogue.

Biden has said he will take a harder line with the kingdom over its human rights record and the Yemen war.

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