Breakthrough imminent in GCC crisis, says Saudi FM
December 05 2020 08:31 PM
Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud addresses the Manama Dialogue security conference i
Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud addresses the Manama Dialogue security conference in the Bahraini capital. AFP

AFP/Manama


*All nations involved 'on board' for resolution of Gulf dispute: Prince Faisal


A resolution of the Gulf diplomatic crisis is in sight, with all nations involved "on board" and final agreement expected soon, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said Saturday.
Until recently the three-year Gulf dispute -- pitting a group of regional nations against Qatar -- had appeared difficult to solve, but Prince Faisal said that a breakthrough was imminent.
In an interview with AFP conducted in Bahrain, the top Saudi diplomat said: "We are in full coordination with our partners in this process and the prospects that we see are very positive towards a final agreement," he said, adding that "the eventual resolution will involve all parties concerned".
"What we envision is a resolution that covers all aspects and is satisfactory to all parties involved," he said when asked whether the dispute was headed for a full settlement.
It would happen "soon", he said.
Saudi Arabia ,United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar in June 2017, saying it was too close to Iran and funding Islamist movements -- charges Doha staunchly denies.
They subsequently forced out Qataris residing in their countries, closed their airspace to Qatari aircraft and sealed their borders and ports, separating many mixed-nationality families.
Though some analysts have said any initial breakthrough would likely only extend to ties between Riyadh and Doha, Prince Faisal indicated, however, that a much broader thaw is being negotiated.
"We are in full coordination with our partners, and everyone is on board for the process as it stands," the minister said, when asked if the UAE was in agreement.
After snapping ties, the regional quartet issued a list of 13 demands for Qatar, including shutting down its broadcaster Al Jazeera and downgrading relations with Turkey.
But the blockade designed to choke Qatar has only made Doha more self-sufficient, observers say. They said it has also hurt Saudi strategic interests.
Asked whether Saudi Arabia would drop or slim the list of demands, Prince Faisal said: "The best I can say right now, not to prejudice the ongoing discussions, is that the resolution will be satisfactory to all."
On Friday there was a chorus of optimistic comments from Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, who all said progress had been made towards ending the crisis.
Kuwait, which is leading mediation efforts, said all sides had expressed keenness for a "final agreement" during recent "fruitful discussions", which have included the United States.
US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, is reported to have raised the Gulf crisis and pushed for progress towards ending the spat during a recent visit to Saudi and Qatar.
US national security adviser Robert O'Brien said in November that allowing Qatari planes to fly over Saudi Arabia was a priority for the outgoing Trump administration.
Qatar has repeatedly said it is open to talks without preconditions.

Last updated: December 05 2020 11:29 PM


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