Officials in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey are the first to welcome the move to reopen the borders with Qatar.
Saudi Arabia has reopened its land border with Qatar, and Kuwait’s foreign minister has announced that the kingdom’s air and sea borders will also be opened ahead of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit to be held in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ula province on Tuesday .
Monday’s announcement could pave the way to settle a political dispute that led Riyadh and its allies to boycott Qatar more than three years ago.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a diplomatic, trade and travel boycott on Qatar in June 2017, accusing Doha of supporting “terrorism” and having relations with Iran that were deemed too close.
Qatar has repeatedly denied the allegations, stating that there is “no legitimate justification” for the breakup.
The border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia is officially open #Qatar pic.twitter.com/9z2x9hcbty
– Sorin Furcoi (@ Furcoisorin) January 4, 2021
On Monday, the Saudi Crown Prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman said the GCC summit would be “inclusive” and lead states to “reunification and solidarity in facing the challenges of our region”.
Anwar Gargash, the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, described the upcoming summit as “historic”.
“We are facing a historic summit in Al-Ula, through which we will restore our Gulf cohesion and ensure that security, stability and prosperity are our top priorities,” he said on Twitter. “We have more work to do and we’re going in the right direction.”
Nayef Mubarak Al-Hajraf, General Secretary of the six-member GCC, also welcomed the move.
“The move ahead of the 41st GCC summit in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday reflects the great interest and sincere efforts that are being made to ensure the success of the summit, which is taking place in the face of exceptional circumstances,” said Al-Hajraf.
Turkey also “welcomed” the decision, and its Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was “an important step towards resolving the dispute”.
The ministry praised the efforts of Kuwait and other international actors to end the crisis.
“We hope that this dispute will be fully and permanently resolved on the basis of mutual respect for the sovereignty of the countries and that other sanctions against the people of Qatar will be lifted as soon as possible,” the statement said.