Kuwait says progress made in resolving Saudi-led boycott of Qatar

USA & World

Kuwait says progress made in resolving Saudi-led boycott of Qatar

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser al-Sabah says there have been “constructive and fruitful discussions” on efforts to achieve reconciliation in the Gulf crisis.

The foreign minister said on Friday that there was progress in resolving the row that has seen Saudi Arabia and its allies boycott Qatar since mid-2017.

He stopped short of announcing any breakthrough in the dispute.

“Fruitful discussion have taken place recently in which all sides expressed their keenness … to reach a final agreement,” al-Sabah said in a statement read out on Kuwait TV, thanking White House senior adviser Jared Kushner for his “recent efforts”.

Following the statement, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani thanked Kuwait for its mediation.

“The Kuwaiti statement is an imperative step towards resolving the GCC crisis. We express our gratitude to the State of Kuwait for their mediation & the United States for their efforts,” Al Thani said on Twitter.

“The interest and security of the people of the Gulf & the region remain our top priority,” he added.

Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst Marwan Bishara, reporting from Doha, said: “A Gulf summit expected to take place next week[could] be a good occasion for Kuwait to introduce the new agreement between Qatar and the other Gulf countries.”

He also said Kushner did not really seem to have brought much to the crisis resolution.

“Clearly, he came to late in the game and he left too late in the sense that he came to get some credit, but it didn’t really work out because everyone understands that Qataris and Saudis did most of the work and Kuwait of course has been mediating this crisis for years,” he said.

Possible breakthrough

Earlier on Friday, Al Thani said there has been movement on resolving the bitter diplomatic dispute but that he could not predict whether a breakthrough was imminent or would fully resolve the matter.

There have been false starts in the past in resolving the crisis. However, this was the first time Kuwait, which has been mediating the dispute, issued a communique such as Friday’s one on state TV.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a diplomatic, trade and travel boycott on Qatar on June 5, 2017, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism and having ties with Iran that were deemed too close.

Qatar has repeatedly rejected the accusations as baseless while highlighting its readiness for dialogue.

The four boycotting nations have not publicly acknowledged any coming breakthrough.

Al Jazeera’s Bishara said that confidence measures would likely come first in any preliminary agreement to end the dispute, such as opening air space, which could be followed by some bilateral talks to resolve issues.

“I think what we have for now is a framework agreement that they are turning the page and there is the will to resolve this issue,” he said.