Middle East

Saudi Arabia and Gulf allies ‘to lift years-long blockade on Qatar, reopen borders’

Saudi Arabia and its regional allies will end a four-year crippling blockade of Qatar and re-open borders in a breakthrough agreement due to be signed on Tuesday, a Trump administration official has reportedly said.

The deal, first reported by both US and Kuwaiti officials, looks set to end a bitter rift between Gulf Cooperation Council countries and Qatar.

Kuwait’s foreign minister said in a televised comment that Riyadh had agreed to reopen its airspace, land and sea border to its tiny Gulf neighbour as of Monday.

Under the emerging agreement, the four countries will end the blockade of Qatar, and in exchange, Doha will not pursue lawsuits related to the blockade.

“We’ve had a breakthrough in the Gulf Cooperation Council rift,” the Trump official said.

The official added that the agreement will be signed at Tuesday’s annual Gulf Cooperation Council summit, where the GCC countries will come together with Egypt to end the blockade.

The development is the latest in a series of Middle East deals brokered by Washington aimed at bringing together its allies to build a united front against Iran. Most recently they involved Gulf and Arab countries recognising Israel, Washington’s closet regional ally.

Since mid-2017 Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a diplomatic, trade and travel embargo on Qatar accusing it of supporting terrorism largely because of its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar denies it and says the embargo aims to undermine its sovereignty.

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