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Gulf leaders bury the hatchet

Gulf leaders ended three and a half years of alienation and accusations in Saudi on Tuesday, January 5, 2021, by signing a “solidarity and stability” agreement

  • "There is a desperate need today to unite our efforts to promote our region and to confront challenges that surround us"
  • Saudi Arabia and Qatar reopened their airspace and maritime borders
  • Turkey on Tuesday welcomed the outcome of the 41st Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit

Gulf leaders ended three and a half years of alienation and accusations in Saudi on Tuesday, January 5, 2021, by signing a “solidarity and stability” agreement.

The agreement ends the diplomatic rift with Qatar, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said.


It is now known as the Al-Ula statement, which was signed at this summit affirming “Gulf, Arab and Islamic solidarity and stability.” 

At the meeting, the Saudi crown prince thanked the United States and Kuwait for their mediation.

“There is a desperate need today to unite our efforts to promote our region and to confront challenges that surround us, especially the threats posed by the Iranian regime’s nuclear and ballistic missile program and its plans for sabotage and destruction.”

Saudi had on Monday announced it would open its borders to Qatar.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar reopened their airspace and maritime borders based on the recommendation of Sheikh Nawaf al Ahmad al Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait, according to Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmad Nasser Mohammed al Sabah telling state television on Monday. 

Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum called the summit “positive”.

“A positive summit unifying ranks and establishing fraternity… changes and challenges surrounding us require genuine Gulf strength, cohesion, and cooperation as well as Arab depth and stability,” he posted on Twitter.

Read: Is the GCC diplomatic dispute finally ending?

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain cut diplomatic and trade ties with, and imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Qatar following accusations that Doha was too close to Iran and allegations that it supported “terrorist” groups, which Qatar had continuously denied.

The Saudi Crown Prince held a meeting with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani at the Maraya Hall in the historic city of Al-Ula on Tuesday, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

“During the meeting, they reviewed the bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries, and ways to enhance joint Gulf action,” the statement said.

Read: Recession, oil, fintech, crypto, China and GCC economies in 2021 and beyond

Turkey congratulates

At the heart of the conflict have also been concerns that Qatar's close relations with Turkey and Iran have undermined regional security.  

Turkey on Tuesday welcomed the outcome of the 41st Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit held in Saudi Arabia, which saw reconciliation between Gulf states.

"The expression of common will to resolve the Gulf dispute and the announcement of the restoration of diplomatic relations with Qatar…, is a welcome development," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Image  – Gulf News 

"We hope that the Al Ula Declaration signed at the end of the summit will lead to the ultimate resolution of the conflict."

It reiterated the importance Turkey attaches to the "unity and solidarity" within the GCC.

"With the restoration of mutual confidence among the Gulf countries, Turkey stands ready to further develop the institutional cooperation with the GCC of which Turkey is a strategic partner," the statement added.

In recent months, there has been an uptick in efforts to improve ties between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke on the phone with King Salman on the occasion of the G20 Summit, while the countries’ two foreign ministers held in-person meetings on the sidelines of international summits.

Author
Hadi Khatib

Hadi Khatib is a business editor with more than 15 years' experience delivering news and copy of relevance to a wide range of audiences. If newsworthy and actionable, you will find this editor interested in hearing about your sector developments and writing about it. [email protected]

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