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Friday, July 23, 2021

GCC crisis: ‘Deal to be finalised at this month’s summit

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The 41st annual summit for the Gulf Cooperation Council is scheduled to take place later this month, and there are reports a final deal to end the three-year long crisis will be signed at the gathering of regional leaders.

Gulf countries are reported to be getting ready to finalise an agreement that would put an end to the illegal blockade on Qatar at the upcoming GCC Summit this month, Kuwaiti media has reported.

According to Al Rai newspaper, a senior official has confirmed that negotiations are going with the aim of reaching a final settlement at the 41st GCC Summit, when all countries are expected to meet.

The source also told Al Rai that Saudi, the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar will be negotiating the points of contention and the demands that have been in place since the crisis erupted in 2017, through working groups that will be tasked with drafting a final agreement.

While the date and location of this year’s summit have not yet been confirmed, it was initially planned on taking place in Bahrain. Analysts however believe that a change of location to Kuwait, which has been mediating the rift, is possible. 

The meeting is also expected to shed light on the position of countries that have so far remained silent about the recent developments, namely Bahrain and the UAE.

Read also: GCC Crisis: What’s the international response been so far?

Over the past few days, messages coming from several officials in the GCC have been extremely positive regarding the announcement of what’s been described as an “historic” breakthrough in the three year-long dispute; with foreign ministers from Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia all welcoming the latest developments.

On Friday, Kuwait’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al Mohammad Al Sabah, announced that “fruitful discussions” to move towards resolving the GCC crisis had taken place in recent days.

The Kuwaiti official’s statement came after Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, confirmed earlier reports about the potential breakthrough in the three-year-long dispute.

“We believe the end of the crisis is important for the security of the region and for the sake of our people. This crisis needs to end based on mutual respect and the rights of all people of the Gulf,” he said.

Saudi Arabia, the country that initially declared the illegal land, air and sea blockade on Qatar, also came out with a statement welcoming the recent developments, other blockading countries however have kept silent.

Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE have not made any statement yet, raising questions about their position vis-a-vis the potential reconciliation.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s foreign ministry welcomed the potential deal, emphasising Ankara’s desire to ensure security and unity within the region.

Read also: Kushner meets Amir Tamim following Riyadh visit in efforts to end GCC crisis

The recent breakthrough is seen as an outcome of Senior White House advisor and US President Donald Trump’s son in-law Jared Kushner’s recent visits to Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

According to some reports, the initial stages of the deal will see Saudi Arabia giving permission to Qatari planes to use its airspace, and the reopening of the land border between the two countries.

The Gulf crisis erupted in 2017, when Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar, ordering an illegal land, air and sea blockade.

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