Saudi Arabia to end Qatar blockade

Caution urged as Saudi Arabia reportedly re-opening land and air borders to Qatar for the first time in over 40 months

An agreement to end almost four years of isolation for Qatar has been reached, with Saudi Arabia set to re-open its land and air borders.

News agency The Associated Press reported yesterday that the two GCC countries will once again share a border crossing for the first time since June 2017, it added that the move is, “the first step toward ending a years-long diplomatic crisis.”

While welcoming the news,  Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, urged caution in a tweet, suggesting, “We have more work to do and we are in the right direction.”

UAE newspaper, The National, reported that the process was instigated following a phone call between Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“Based on a proposal by Sheikh Nawaf, it was agreed that the borders between Saudi Arabia and Qatar would be reopened,” said the National.

Speaking ahead of the 41st GCC Summit taking place this week – where the Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is now expected to attend – Nayef Al Hajraf, Secretary General of the GCC, issued a statement noting that the move was “a reflection of sincere efforts being made to ensure the success of tomorrow’s summit across all areas despite the exceptional circumstances created by the pandemic. Today’s announcement once again proves that the GCC embodies a deep-rooted partnership that consistently overcomes challenges while advancing the interests of the GCC people thanks to the leadership and wisdom of its leaders.”

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