Saudi to lift Qatar embargo, open airspace

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 4, (Agencies): Kuwait’s foreign ministry on Monday announced that Saudi Arabia will lift a years-long embargo on Qatar, opening its air and land borders in the first steps toward ending the Gulf crisis. The state-run Kuwait News Agency reported the announcement, saying that Saudi Arabia would open its airspace, land and sea borders starting Monday evening.

Kuwait has been mediating between Qatar and four Arab states that launched an embargo in mid-2017 over Qatar’s support for Islamist groups in the region and its warm ties with Iran. The announcement comes on the eve of a summit of Gulf Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday that will be chaired by Saudi King Salman.

Qatar’s ruler is now expected to attend the summit for the first time since the embargo. The decision by the close US allies comes in the final days of the Trump administration’s time in office, and just ahead of the incoming President-elect Joe Biden. His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah is scheduled to depart Kuwait tomorrow (Tuesday) to Saudi Arabia to head the State of Kuwait delegation partaking in the 41st GCC summit due in the governorate of Al-Ula.

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi reiterated the Egyptian policy constants aiming to maintain Arab solidarity, in response to the Kuwaiti efforts to resolve the Gulf Crisis between the Arab quartet and Qatar, egypttoday. com reports. Sisi’s remarks came as he received on Saturday Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti foreign minister, who carried a message from HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

The message has displayed the latest developments related to the Kuwaiti efforts in unifying the Arab ranks through achieving reconciliation between the Arab quartet, consisting of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar and Qatar. This comes more than three years after the quartet decided to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, to pressurize Doha to end its alleged finance to terrorist groups. “Concerning the reconciliation efforts, Mr President (El-Sisi) has expressed appreciation and support to the Kuwaiti sincere efforts stemming from good intentions over the past years to achieve the desired reconciliation,” Presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said, after Sisi’s meeting with the Kuwaiti foreign minister.

Sisi praised the Kuwaiti efforts in this regard, initiated by late Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah and resumed by the current Amir, Sheikh Nawaf. He also hailed the role played by the Saudi Arabia during the crisis on behalf of the quartet. “His excellency (the president) has affirmed the constants of the Egyptian policy to achieve cooperation and development and support Arab solidarity as a solid strategic approach,” Radi said.

Sisi also affirmed the importance of sticking to sincere intentions to achieve the mutual interest and well as solidarity to ward off dangers from the rest of the Arab nation and preserve its national security, Rady added. During the meeting, Sisi and the Kuwaiti foreign minister have agreed on the need to enhance consultation and coordination between the two countries in this regard, with the aim of facing any security threat facing stability of the Arab nations.

In the message, the Kuwaiti Amir has affirmed his country’s appreciation to the brotherly relations with Egypt. Kuwaiti Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Jaber hailed Egypt’s strategic and pivotal role in preserving the Arab national security and defending the causes of the Arab nation.

He also praised Egypt’s continuous efforts in establishing regional security, stability and development. Sisi, during the meeting, asked to convey his greetings to the Kuwaiti Amir, affirming the special relations between Egypt and Kuwait, represented in decades of cooperation in various fields. The president stressed Egypt’s keenness to develop cooperation and coordination between the two countries to serve the interests of peoples of both countries as well as the Arab nation.

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