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Sunday, January 23, 2022

GCC reconciliation talks ‘only between Qatar and Saudi Arabia’


More hopeful details emerge as Doha-Riyadh seem to be heading towards a possible agreement that would end the three-year-long crisis.

Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani confirmed that Doha has been negotiating with Saudi Arabia only as it “represents the countries involved in the dispute”.

“All Gulf nations will emerge victorious from the crisis if we are able to rebuild confidence within the Cooperation Council as a regional institution,” Al Thani said during a press conference in Moscow on Wednesday.

He added that there are “no obstacles” in reaching a resolution and confirmed Qatar has been negotiating with Saudi Arabia only.

The Qatari foreign minister also called for Iran-GCC dialogue while welcoming all peace initiatives, reiterating Doha’s role in ensuring peace in the region.

Read also: Saudi Arabia pushing for Gulf breakthrough ahead of GCC Summit

On Tuesday, the Saudi Press Agency [SPA] issued a statement saying that Riyadh is committed to its role in ensuring the GCC’s unity.

“Since the establishment of the Gulf Cooperation Council in 1981 AD, the Kingdom has embarked on a balanced approach that supports every effort and supports every move that contributes to achieving common goals and aspirations,” read the statement.

Saudi Arabia has been working “to overcome disagreements” while also supporting GCC member states in “reaching a settlement and viable solutions to the Gulf dispute”, it added.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia said it was in the process of pushing for a potential resolution to the Gulf crisis ahead of the 41st GCC Summit, which will be taking place in Riyadh on January 5th.

The Gulf countries are expected to negotiate the points of contention and demands that have been in place since the crisis erupted in 2017. This will be carried out through working groups tasked with drafting a final agreement.

Recent weeks witnessed a series of announcements of a potential breakthrough in the crisis, which was triggered three years ago when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt imposed an illegal air, land and sea blockade on Qatar and falsely accused it of supporting terrorism.

Kuwait has been one of the key mediators throughout the crisis and was the first to announce that a deal had been reached.

Its mediating efforts were widely welcomed by countries within the GCC and beyond, including Saudi Arabia, which initially imposed the blockade on Qatar.

Days later on December 8, Egypt and the UAE commented on the breakthrough after remaining silent for days.

In a post on his official Facebook page, Cairo’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesperson, Ahmed Hafez, expressed his country’s appreciation towards Kuwait’s “continuous” efforts towards resolving the ongoing Gulf dispute between Qatar and its neighbours, which has lasted for more than three years now.

The UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash also tweeted that his government “valued the efforts made by Kuwait and the US towards increasing unity within the Arabian Gulf”.

Bahrain has yet to comment on the developments, with tensions between Manama and Doha simmering amid continuous breaches of territorial waters.

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