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Saudi Arabia to open its air and land borders with Qatar, easing the Gulf crisis

Saudi Arabia will open its air and land borders with Qatar starting Monday evening,  ending a year-long diplomatic crisis that has deeply impacted regional US allies since 2017. 

On Monday, Kuwait’s foreign minister Ahmad Nasser was quoted saying that it was agreed to open the airspace and sea borders between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Qatar based on ruler Sheikh Nawaf’s proposal.

The conversation between Kuwait’ ruler and Qatar’s emir and Saudi Arabia crown prince emphasized that everyone was keen on reunification and would gather in Al-Ula to sign a statement that promises to usher in a bright page of brotherly relations, said Kuwait’s foreign minister in a statement carried on state TV.

The announcement comes on the eve of an annual summit of the six nation Gulf Cooperation Council in the northwestern Saudi Arabian city of Al-Ula. The lifting of embargo comes amid efforts to resolve the dispute that had split Qatar from its neighbors since 2017 and complicated US strategy toward Iran under the rule of President Donald Trump.

The new push comes in the final days of the Trump’s administration with his successor and President-elect Joe Biden’s swearing-in, vowing to renew diplomacy with Tehran.

The decision paves the way to Qatar’s ruler to attend the summit on Tuesday which will be chaired by the Saudi monarch, King Salman. The Gulf Cooperation Council summit will be inclusive and will lead the states toward reunification and solidarity in facing the challenges of our region said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in remarks carried by the Saudi state-run news agency.

Also Read: UK PM Boris Johnson announces new nationwide lockdown amid rising coronavirus cases

Qatar’s land border was closed when Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain launched a blockade against the Gulf state, claiming that it supported Islamist groups in the region and had close ties with Iran.

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