#GulfSummit41: Qatar Emir lands in Saudi Arabia


Sheik Tamim will attend the summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Al Ula, an ancient desert site in Saudi Arabia. The summit is likely to see a formal settlement to resolve the conflict between Riyadh and its allies boycotting Qatar.

His attendance may be a first step towards ending Qatar’s separation from its Arab neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt.

After 2017, however, nothing has changed to tackle Saudi Arabia’s and its allies’ concerns about Qatar, to raise the issue of what the boycott did—and if any compromise that failed to settle the underlying conflicts would survive.

The statement was seen in Washington as good news. Arriving amid the transition from one US president to another, the agreement is a remarkable overlap of priorities between President Donald Trump, whose administration has encouraged his partners to avoid quarreling and unifying against Iran, and President-elect Joe Biden. Their team would prefer not to inherit a crisis based on one of the world’s most significant countries.

Kuwait’s foreign minister, Sheik Ahmad Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah, said there was an arrangement between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which he said would be a “new page in mutually supportive relations.”

The decision of the Gulf countries in 2017 to break ties with Qatar, sever diplomatic relations and suspend land, air, and sea movement, forced the tiny monarchy into immediate crisis. Trade and business, which used to run seamlessly across the Gulf, broke apart, and thousands of people had to leave their homes almost immediately and return to their countries.

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