Qatar and Saudi Arabia Close to Restoring Ties Following Kushner Visit, Reports Say

Three-year rift between Saudi Arabia and Qatar over foreign policy, including close Iran ties, may be nearing an end, Al Jazeera and Bloomberg report, but similar talks collapsed in February

new-hdc-logo
Haaretz
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (left), senior U.S. advisor Jared Kushner (center) and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (left), senior U.S. advisor Jared Kushner (center) and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.Credit: AFP
new-hdc-logo
Haaretz

Qatar and Saudi Arabia are nearing an agreement to end a dispute that has diplomatically and economically isolated the small Gulf state from its neighbors for three years, Qatar’s state broadcaster Al Jazeera reported Wednesday.

The two countries “are close to striking a preliminary agreement,” the Al Jazeera report said, following a visit from U.S. President Donald Trump’s adviser Jared Kushner and a small delegation of the administration’s Middle East envoys. The team is attempting to restore ties before Trump leaves office in January.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut political, trade and transport ties with Qatar in 2017, accusing the state of promoting terrorism and enjoying close links to regional arch-foe Iran.

Saudi Arabia gave Qatar a list of 13 demands for reestablishing ties, including cutting links to Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, closing down Al Jazeera and shutting a Turkish military base.

According to a report from Bloomberg News, which cited sources with knowledge of the agreement, the Saudi-Qatar deal involves a detailed plan for restoring ties, which is likely to include a reopening of the long-blockaded land and air borders, as well as an end to the information war being waged by the two states.

Qatar's ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, meets with U.S. President's senior adviser Jared Kushner in Doha, Qatar, December 2, 2020.Credit: Qatar News Agency/Handout via Reuters

The Bloomberg report adds that the latest rapprochement effort does not include UAE, Bahrain or Egypt. One source said that until Qatar’s relationship with Iran is resolved, its realignment with other regional states is far off.

In February, similar talks between Saudi Arabia and Qatar broke down soon after they began a few months prior. Qatar had stressed the restoration of freedom of its citizens to travel to the nations boycotting it, as well as reopening its land border with Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh had demanded that Qatar first change its foreign policy, which sees Doha backing Riyadh’s opponents in several regional conflicts. One diplomat told Reuters that it would be a “non-starter” for Qatar, citing their many foreign policy disagreements.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Dr. Claris Harbon in the neighborhood where she grew up in Ashdod.

A Women's Rights Lawyer Felt She Didn't Belong in Israel. So She Moved to Morocco

Mohammed 'Moha' Alshawamreh.

'It Was Real Shock to Move From a Little Muslim Village, to a Big Open World'

From the cover of 'Shmutz.'

'There Are Similarities Between the Hasidic Community and Pornography’

A scene from Netflix's "RRR."

‘RRR’: If Cocaine Were a Movie, It Would Look Like This

Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

Yair Lapid's Journey: From Late-night Host to Israel's Prime Minister

Lake Kinneret. The high water level created lagoons at the northern end of the lake.

Lake Kinneret as You’ve Never Experienced It Before