In a major political development that could put to rest some of the problems in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is all set to reopen its air, water and land border with Qatar. The announcement was made by Kuwait’s Foreign Minister citing a deal towards resolving a political dispute that led Riyadh and its allies to impose a boycott on Qatar.
“Based on [Kuwait’s ruler Emir] Sheikh Nawaf’s proposal, it was agreed to open the airspace and land and sea borders between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Qatar, starting from this evening,” Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmad Nasser Al-Sabah said on state TV on Monday. In his statement, Kuwait’s foreign minister said that the Kuwaiti emir had spoken with Qatar’s emir and Saudi Arabia’s crown prince. The conversations “emphasised that everyone was keen on reunification” and would gather in Al-Ula [for the GCC summit] to sign a statement that promises to “usher in a bright page of brotherly relations”.
In June 2017, the blockading countries – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt – accused Qatar, among other things, of supporting terrorism and being too close to Iran and severed economic and diplomatic ties. They also imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Qatar. Qatar has repeatedly denied the allegations and said there was “no legitimate justification” for the severance of relations.
According to several reports, Qatar will, in return, drop its lawsuits against Riyadh and its allies, as part of a broader agreement to defuse tensions, due to be signed on Tuesday. Kuwait has been mediating between Qatar and four Arab states.