Saudi, Qatari leaders hug ahead of summit
AL-ULA: Gulf Arab leaders arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for a summit focused on ending a long-running dispute with Qatar which shattered Gulf unity.
Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani was met in the historic city of al-Ula by de facto Saudi ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The two men, wearing face masks, embraced on the tarmac.
Prior to the meeting, Kuwait announced that Saudi Arabia, which boycotted Doha with allies in mid-2017, would reopen its airspace and to Qatar under an agreement that, according to a senior US official, would be signed in the presence of senior adviser to the White House. Jared Kushner.
Other Gulf leaders showed up earlier and a source said Egypt’s foreign minister would attend the annual summit, which was postponed from December in Riyadh for an agreement.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and other Gulf states have severed diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar over allegations that Doha supports ‘terrorism’, an accusation he denies.
The breakthrough is the latest in a series of Middle Eastern deals that Washington has been looking for.
While Riyadh has made it clear that he intends to lift the embargo, the other three states have not immediately commented on the issue. But the US official said “it is our expectation” that they will join as well. Under the emerging agreement, Qatar will suspend lawsuits regarding the boycott, the official said.