Riyadh is ready to reconcile with Qatar

Saudi Arabia is ready to achieve reconciliation with Qatar after a three-year conflict to gain the US presidential candidate’s favor from the Democratic Party and the possible next head of the American state, Joe Biden, the Financial Times newspaper writes, citing sources.

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt unexpectedly announced a break in Qatar’s relations and imposed a transport blockade on it, accusing it of supporting terrorism. In turn, Qatar denied the accusations and said it was ready to settle relations with its neighbors based on mutual respect for sovereignty.

The intensification of Riyadh’s efforts to resolve the conflict with Qatar is an attempt by Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Salman to win the favor of Joe Biden, who has already been declared the winner of the presidential election by most American media.

“This is a gift to Biden,” the Saudi and UAE adviser told the newspaper.

According to him, the Saudi Prince wants to demonstrate “the desire and willingness to take action” because, after Biden’s preliminary victory, he felt like “in the line of fire.” It may also be a “farewell gesture” to the current US President, Donald Trump.

To lay the groundwork for direct bilateral talks between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, negotiations are being conducted with the United States and Kuwait mediation, the newspaper writes, citing an unnamed diplomat. Saudi analyst Ali Shihabi, who is close to the Royal court, in turn, said that Riyadh had been “open to resolving the problem” with Qatar for several months.

The Emirati authorities declare some preliminary confidence-building measures before reconciliation, particularly the lifting of the air embargo and transport blockade. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, in turn, want Doha to stop criticizing Saudi Arabia on local television. Also mentioned among the measures is the possibility of shipping liquefied natural gas to Bahrain.

However, another source told the publication that no details about confidence-building measures were discussed.

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