GCC leaders sign the Al-Ula agreement to end 3 year rift with Qatar

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Al Ula Agreement Image
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Leaders of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have signed a “solidarity and stability” agreement, called the Al-Ula declaration, at the 41st Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in Saudi Arabia to end the diplomatic rift with Qatar.

Qatar’s Amir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani signed the declaration along with Kuwait Amir HH Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Saudi Crown Prince HRH Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Bahrain’s Crown Prince HE Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Omani Deputy Prime Minister HE Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Said.

The announcement was made by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman at the summit, which took place in the midst of a breakthrough in the disagreement between the Saudi-led bloc and Qatar that began in June 2017. He thanked the United States and Kuwait for their mediation.

Mohammed bin Salman
Mohammed bin Salman
Crown Prince
Saudi Arabia

“These efforts helped us reach the agreement of the Al-Ula statement that will be signed at this summit, where we affirm our Gulf, Arab and Islamic solidarity and stability. There is a desperate need today to unite our efforts to promote our region and to confront challenges that surround us, especially the threats posed by the Iranian regime’s nuclear and ballistic missile program and its plans for sabotage and destruction.”

Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum called the summit positive. “A positive summit unifying ranks and establishing fraternity changes and challenges surrounding us require genuine Gulf strength, cohesion and cooperation as well as Arab depth and stability,” he posted on Twitter.

As part of the agreement Saudi Arabia has already opened the airspace, land and sea border with Qatar and more steps to end the crisis are expected in the coming days.

Met with cheer

Italian politicians have welcomed the move by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to mend relations with Qatar. They described it as a development that will help to ensure peace and ease regional tensions. Ministers in the Italian government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte cheered the announcement.

3 year rift

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut diplomatic and trade ties with, and imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Qatar. They accused Doha of being too close to Iran and supporting “terrorist” groups. Qatar vehemently denied the allegations and accused its neighbors of attacking its sovereignty.