Saudi to open airspace, borders to Qatar: Kuwaiti minister 'Breakthrough' achieved in ending Gulf rift with Qatar: US official

His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will chair Qatar's delegation participating in the 41st session of the Supreme Council of the Co-operation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), set to take place on Tuesday in Al-Ula Governorate in Saudi Arabia, Qatar News Agency reported.

The confirmation of His Highness the Amir's participation came after Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmed Nasser al-Mohamed al-Sabah announced that Saudi Arabia would reopen its airspace and land and sea border to Qatar, citing a deal towards ending a dispute in which Riyadh and its allies imposed a boycott on Qatar since mid-2017.

Sheikh Ahmed said that the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah held a phone call with His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Saudi Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Mohamed bin Salman.

He added that the calls stressed the commitment of all parties involved to unity by signing the Al-Ula declaration, which he added would serve as a fresh start for brotherly ties unobstructed by any differences.

He said that, based on a proposal by the Amir of Kuwait, the two sides agreed to open airspace as well as land and sea border starting Monday night.

Sheikh Ahmed added that the Amir of Kuwait expressed his great gratitude to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman for their commitment to the success of the summit.

The Amir of Kuwait also expressed his confidence that leaders of GCC members and Egypt are keen to ensure that the summit will be one of reconciliation and solidarity, and that all issues could be addressed so that things could return to normal.

"Based on (Kuwait's ruler Amir) Sheikh Nawaf's proposal, it was agreed to open the airspace and land and sea borders between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Qatar, starting from this (Monday) evening," said Kuwaiti foreign minister on state TV.

A breakthrough has been reached in Qatar's dispute with Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries and an agreement aimed at ending their rift is to be signed in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, a senior Trump administration official said in Washington.

Saudi state agency SPA quoted Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman as saying the annual gathering of Gulf leaders would unite Gulf ranks "in the face of challenges facing the region".

The US official said the Saudi crown prince and His Highness the Amir of Qatar would sign the deal.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, assigned to work on the dispute by US President Donald Trump, helped negotiate the deal and was working the phones on it until the wee hours of Monday morning, the official said.

Kushner, joined by Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz and Brian Hook, a special State Department adviser, were flying to the Saudi Arabian city of Al-Ula to attend the ceremony, the US official said.

"It's just a massive breakthrough," the official said. "The blockade will be lifted. It will allow for travel amongst the countries as well as goods. It will lead to more stability in the region."

The GCC Secretary-General Dr Nayef bin Falah al-Hajraf yesterday welcomed the opening of airspace and land and sea borders between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, local Arabic daily Arrayah reported.

Al-Hajraf stressed that this step, which comes on the eve of the GCC Summit, reflects the great care and sincere efforts being made to ensure the success of the summit, which is held under exceptional circumstances.

Al-Hajraf stressed that the people of the GCC countries are proud of this step, and are looking to the future with all hopes, aspirations and opportunities towards a coherent and compact Gulf entity that moves ahead the wheel of development, progress, security and stability.

The GCC Secretary-General extended his gratitude, appreciation and congratulations to the leaders and people of the GCC states, Arrayah added.

Related Story