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Sunday, October 24, 2021

World leaders ‘welcome’ move to resolve GCC crisis

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World leaders have responded to a historic declaration signed at the annual GCC summit with praise. 

Imposed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt in 2017, the blockade on Qatar triggered what soon became the worst GCC crisis since 2014. 

However, borders that were deserted for more than three years resumed services on Tuesday as Qatar’s flag carrier soared through Saudi skies following the lifting of an embargo on Qatar. 

The breakthrough, which was solidified with an official signing of the Al-Ula Declaration at the GCC summit on Tuesday, has been welcomed by world leaders and diplomats alike. 

Doha News takes a look at the international response to the end of the dispute.

Kuwait

As the key mediator since the start of the crisis, Kuwait was the first to announce the end of the blockade.

Kuwait’s Foreign Minister said in a televised statement that the Al-Ula declaration opens a new “bright” chapter for the region.

Read also: Qatari-Saudi deal to boost investor confidence in GCC region: experts

National Assembly speaker Marzouq Ali Mohammed Al-Ghanim also congratulated his country’s Amir and praised his mediating efforts in achieving regional unity and “bringing joy to all citizens of the Gulf.”

The United States

The administration of US President Donald Trump has been keen on fast-tracking an end to the GCC crisis before its exit from the White House.

On Monday, the US welcomed the Saudi decision to lift the embargo and sent key negotiator and senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner to attend the summit in Al-Ula.

Steps towards reconciliation began to emerge after Kushner’s visit to Saudi Arabia and Qatar several weeks ago, where he met with senior officials from both countries.

The European Union

The EU said “the reconciliation agreement” is an essential “step on the path to rearranging the Gulf”, throwing its support behind Kuwait’s mediation efforts. 

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose country imposed the blockade and lifted it on Monday evening, welcomed the breakthrough during a speech at the GCC summit on Tuesday. 

The Saudi royal earlier said the “inclusive” summit would lead the Gulf states towards “reunification and solidarity”.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia held direct negotiations prior to the announcement, with both countries aiming to end the GCC crisis. 

“We are in full coordination with our partners, and everyone is on board for the process as it stands,” he said. “What we envision is a resolution that covers all aspects and is satisfactory to all parties involved,” Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saudi said in December. 

United Arab Emirates

The UAE welcomed the lifting of the blockade on Monday evening.

Prior to the meeting, the UAE’s Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash said: “We stand before a historic summit in Al-Ula, through which we restore our Gulf cohesion and ensure that security, stability and prosperity is our top priority.”

Road trips, Mecca and memes: How social media users reacted to Qatari-Saudi breakthrough

Despite Saudi Arabia’s serving as the representative of the blockading quartet, the UAE has yet to announce whether it would open its air, land and sea borders with Qatar.

Bahrain

There have been no recent statements from Bahrain regarding Saudi Arabia’s latest move.

However, Bahrain in December called for an end to the GCC crisis after weeks of silence.

There have been continuous escalations between Manama and Doha in the past couple of months, with several breaches being reported in Qatar by Bahraini boats and fighter jets.

Until now, Manama’s position remains unclear.

Egypt

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Hassan Shoukry represented his country at the summit in Saudi Arabia. He expressed his gratitude to Kuwait’s mediating efforts.

A day earlier reports suggested Egypt was prepared to open its airspace and restore direct flights between Cairo and Doha.

Turkey

Qatar’s long-time ally Turkey welcomed Saudi Arabia’s decision on Monday.

The Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement that the decision was “an important step towards resolving the dispute”.

“Our wish is that this dispute will be completely and permanently resolved on the basis of mutual respect for countries’ sovereignty and that other sanctions against the people of Qatar will be lifted as soon as possible,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

Palestine

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the latest movement in the GCC, saying  “reconciliation strengthens Arab action and defends the causes of our nation, foremost of which is the Palestinian cause”.

Lebanon

The Lebanese Foreign Ministry welcomed the news and expressed its hope “in achieving stability in the region” as the Gulf countries reconcile.


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