Qatar, Saudi Arabia and allies may soon end dispute

Saudi Arabia foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud

Saudi Arabia foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud

Saudi Arabia foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud: dispute with Qatar to end soon

By Agency Reporter

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Friday a resolution to a bitter dispute with Qatar seemed “within reach”.

This followed an announcement by Kuwait that progress towards ending a row hampering a united Gulf front against Iran.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed a diplomatic, trade and travel embargo on Qatar since mid-2017.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner held talks in Doha on Wednesday following a visit to Saudi Arabia.

“We have made significant progress in the last few days thanks to the continuing efforts of Kuwait but also thanks to strong support from President Trump,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud told a Rome conference via videolink.

“We hope this progress can lead to a final agreement which looks within reach and I can say I am somewhat optimistic that we are close to finalising an agreement between all the nations in the dispute.”

Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah on Friday welcomed the developments, state-run news agency KUNA said.

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It quoted him as saying “this agreement has shown that all concerned parties are keen on retaining the pan-Gulf and the pan-Arab solidarity, unity, and stability.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking remotely at a Bahrain summit on Friday, said the United States was “very hopeful” that the dispute would be resolved.

All countries involved are U.S. allies.

Qatar hosts the region’s largest U.S. military base. Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet and Saudi Arabia and the UAE host U.S. troops.

Washington has been pushing for reopening Gulf airspace for Qatari aircraft as a first step, diplomats and sources have said.

The boycotting nations accuse Doha of supporting terrorism.

Qatar denies the charges and says the embargo aims to undermine its sovereignty.

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