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Breakthrough to resolve Gulf crisis, UAE remains hesitant

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - FEBRUARY 19: Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani delivers his remarks at European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs in Brussels, Belgium on February 19, 2020. ( Dursun Aydemir - Anadolu Agency )
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani delivers his remarks at European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs in Brussels, Belgium on February 19, 2020. [Dursun Aydemir - Anadolu Agency]

Qatar's Foreign Affairs Minister, Mohammed Abdur Rahman Al-Thani, said Friday that the solution to the Gulf crisis must be comprehensive, denying any link between resolving the crisis and normalization with Israel.

This came in a speech he delivered via video conferencing during the Rome international forum for Mediterranean Dialogues.

Al-Thani said: "Any resolution to the Gulf crisis must be holistic to preserve the unity of the Gulf region."

He added: "We are optimistic about a resolution to the Gulf crisis, but we cannot say that all problems will be solved in one day."

Regarding talks about links between a possible breakthrough in the Gulf crisis and the normalization file, the Qatari official said: "The Gulf crisis is not related to the Abraham Accords or normalization with Israel."

He added, "Normalization with Israel at the present time will not add any momentum to the Palestinian cause."

On Thursday, The New York Times reported that Trump's administration wants to resolve the Gulf crisis before its departure in order to guarantee tightening the screws on Iran.

Saudi Arabia: Gulf crisis could end within 24 hours

The newspaper indicated that among the first steps in this direction, the Trump administration is pressing Saudi Arabia to open its airspace for Qatari flights that pay millions of dollars to use Iran's airspace.

Bloomberg quoted on Thursday three informed sources as saying (unnamed) that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are close to reaching a preliminary agreement to end the dispute that has been going on for more than three years, following pressures exerted by Trump

The agency quoted a fourth (unnamed) source as saying that "reaching a comprehensive agreement to solve the crisis is still far-fetched due to stalled issues, such as Doha's relations with Tehran."

On Wednesday, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, discussed with Jared Kushner, Trump's senior advisor and son-in-law, in Doha, regional and international issues, most notably developments in the Middle East, according to an official Qatari statement.

The statement did not include further details about the purpose of Kushner's visit, but US media said that the visit was aimed at "reaching more diplomatic agreements in the Middle East before leaving the White House next January."

Senior Advisor to President Donald Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner at the White House in Washington, DC on 13 August 2020 [Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images]

Senior Advisor to President Donald Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner at the White House in Washington, DC on 13 August 2020 [Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images]

Kushner is also scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia soon.

The Wall Street Journal quoted US and Gulf officials (unnamed) as saying that "Kushner will meet the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, in the city of Neom (north of the kingdom)."

Report: Kushner in the Gulf in effort to end Qatar blockade

The officials suggested that Kushner's visit to Qatar and Saudi Arabia are aimed to discuss several issues, most notably the Gulf crisis, normalization with Israel, and Iran's influence in the region.

Since 5 June, 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt have imposed a land, air, and sea blockade on Qatar, allegedly because of Doha's support for terrorism and its relations with Iran. However, the Qatari state denied the accusations and considered it as "an attempt to undermine its sovereignty and independent decision-making."

Meanwhile, it has been observed that the UAE and Saudi Arabia media outlets have been late in issuing any comment about the statement issued by Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasir Al Muhammad Al Sabah, who confirmed today that his country's efforts to resolve the crisis have been fruitful. Sources close to the talks pointed out that there was an agreement between Qatar and the blockading countries about the Kuwaiti statement.

However, after one hour had elapsed no comment was issued by the blockading four, even though Qatar responded positively immediately after it was issued. The sources told MEMO that there were noticeable differences between Saudi Arabia and the UAE and that the latter had expressed unease about reconciliation. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand was keen to find a solution and remains determined to do so.

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Asia & AmericasIranIsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestineQatarSaudi ArabiaUAEUS
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