Saudi Arabia and its allies have reconciled with Qatar

After three years of diplomatic conflict and a trade blockade, a group of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is restoring relations with Qatar.

The plane ramp’s scene became a symbol of reconciliation: the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia embraced his guest, the Emir of Qatar.

In 2017, it was Prince Mohammed bin Salman who was one of the initiators of the blockade, but now the young leaders (the prince is 35 years old, and the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is 40 years old) seem ready to put past differences behind them.

The formal reason for the meeting is the Cooperation Council’s summit for the Arab States of the Persian Gulf. In the run-up to the summit, the monarchies’ borders opened for the first time since 2017, when a group of Arab countries accused Qatar of aiding terrorism (Doha rejected these accusations). In addition to Saudi Arabia, the trade blockade was joined by friendly or dependent countries: the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, and Yemen.

US efforts preceded reconciliation — the outgoing Trump administration urged its Arab allies to restore relations and work together to fight Iran.

Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, and adviser, also flew to Saudi Arabia to witness the event.

An important role was played by Kuwait’s diplomatic efforts, another oil-rich monarchy of the Persian Gulf. The country’s Foreign Minister, Ahmad Nasser Al-Saba, announced a breakthrough in the talks on Tuesday night.

 

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