Breaking News: Saudi Arabia, Qatar ‘agree to open airspace, land and sea border’

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Monday January 4, 2021 “Saudi Arabia will reopen its airspace and land and sea border to Qatar, as of Monday, Kuwait’s foreign minister said, citing a deal towards resolving a political dispute that led Riyadh and its allies to impose a boycott on Qatar.

“Based on [Kuwait’s ruler Emir] Sheikh Nawaf’s proposal, it was agreed to open the airspace and land and sea borders between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Qatar, starting from this evening,” Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmad Nasser Al-Sabah said on state TV on Monday.

In June 2017, the blockading countries – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt – accused Qatar, among other things, of supporting terrorism and being too close to Iran and severed economic and diplomatic ties. They also imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Qatar.

Qatar has repeatedly denied the allegations and said there was “no legitimate justification” for the severance of relations.

Kuwait has been mediating between Qatar and four Arab states.

Last month, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) said Qatar’s emir was invited to the bloc’s summit meeting next week in Saudi Arabia amid efforts to heal the rifts.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani received a formal invitation from Saudi King Salman to the January 5 summit of the six-nation GCC.

In remarks carried by the Saudi state-run news agency on Monday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the GCC summit will be “inclusive”, leading the states toward “reunification and solidarity in facing the challenges of our region”.

Al Jazeera’s Jamal al-Shayyal said Monday’s announcement was “very significant in the sense that it is paving the way to the announcement”.

“One of the pre-conditions the Qataris had was that it made no sense to discuss or sign an agreement as long as it remained under an unjust and illegal blockade,” he added.