Historic turning point: Qatar attends the Gulf Council in Saudi Arabia

Qatar

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, arrived a few hours ago in the Saudi city of Al-Ula on Tuesday to attend the Gulf Cooperation Council summit, the day after the borders between the two countries reopened after more than three years of interruption of relationships. The Emir of Qatar was received by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who hugged him when he got off the plane, according to Saudi channel Al-Ikhbariya.

The Qatari royal family announced, only yesterday, that the country’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, will attend the Gulf Summit in Saudi Arabia today. The trip represents a turning point in the Gulf crisis that has lasted for more than three years. A statement announced on Monday evening that: “His Royal Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir of the country, is heading the delegation of the State of Qatar to attend the meeting of the 41st session of the Supreme Council of the Cooperation Council in the governorate of Al-Ula, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”.

The summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council today in Saudi Arabia will focus on the Gulf crisis, which caused a rift in relations between Qatar and four Arab countries. In particular, there is a desire to find a solution to the Gulf crisis after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut off relations with the emirate in June 2017. Arab countries accuse the emir of supporting Islamic extremist groups, which Doha denies. Isolation has brought the Qatari royal family closer to Iran.
The four Gulf countries have taken steps to boycott Qatar, including closing the airspace to its airlines, preventing trade relations with the emirate, and preventing Qatar from entering its lands. That caused the separation of family members of mixed nationalities.

After severing ties, the four countries issued a list of 13 requests to Qatar, including the closure of Al-Jazeera’s media network and the downgrading of Qatar’s relations with Turkey. But Doha has not publicly complied with any of the demands. Today’s Gulf Summit comes as Washington has stepped up its pressure on rival countries to resolve the crisis, emphasizing that Gulf unity is needed to isolate Iran as President Donald Trump’s term draws to a close.

In recent years, the White House has stepped up its rhetoric against Iran. Washington has withdrawn from the international agreement concluded between the Islamic Republic and six major countries in 2015 to control Iran’s nuclear program. President-elect Joe Biden hinted at the possibility of returning to the negotiating table with Tehran.Prince Bin Salman stated that the efforts of Kuwait and the United States have led with the collaboration of all, to reach the Al-Ula declaration agreement. That has been signed “at this blessed summit, in which the Gulf, Arab and Islamic solidarity and stability.” The document reaffirms the collaboration and solidarity between the Gulf countries. The event is the first step towards ending Doha’s isolation.Doha recently expelled many Muslim Brotherhood leaders who have found refuge in Malaysia and Turkey.

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