Home Middle East Saudi Arabia to Lift Air and Land Embargo on Qatar

Saudi Arabia to Lift Air and Land Embargo on Qatar

January 5, 2020: Saudi Arabia will open its air and land borders with Qatar, Kuwait’s foreign ministry announced on January 4. The State of Kuwait has been mediating between Qatar and other Arab states after the blockade of 2017.

“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 to Kuwait News Agency on January 4.

This is the first step toward ending a diplomatic crisis in the Gulf region since 2017. Three years ago, Qatar was placed under sea, land, and air blockade by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain for allegedly supporting extremist groups in the region and having warm ties with Iran. Qatar has repeatedly denied the allegations of involvement in extremist activities. The only land border of Qatar is with Saudi Arabia.

Qatar’s leader would now be able to attend a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit to be held in the city of Al-Ula in Saudi Arabia on January 5. Qatar’s Government Communications Office has confirmed that Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will attend the summit.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on January 4 the GCC summit will be “inclusive”, leading the states towards “reunification and solidarity in facing the challenges of our region.”

Gulf News reported GCC secretary Al-Hajraf’s statement , “The step, which comes ahead of the 41st GCC summit in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, reflects the great interest and sincere efforts being made to ensure the success of the summit, which is held in light of extraordinary circumstances,” he said.