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Saudi Arabia to Reopen Borders with Qatar

Doha

Saudi Arabia and its three Arab allies agreed to restore full ties with Qatar. Saudi Arabia on Monday announced the reopening of land and air borders with Qatar after three and a half-year of the boycott.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain cut diplomatic and trade ties and impose a land, sea and air blockade on the Gulf state 3,5 years ago.

The agreement announced Monday would allow for commerce and travel between Saudi Arabia and Qatar for the first time since the four countries blockaded Qatar in June 2017, accusing its rulers of supporting terrorism and Islamists in the region, and of getting too close to Iran, their enemy.

Qatar denied supporting terrorists, and argued that it would be unreasonable to sever ties with Iran, a major trading partner that shares a border and a large offshore natural gas field with Qatar.

The diplomatic breakthrough comes one day before a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Tuesday, hosted by Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the summit would focus on regional unity and cohesion.

A senior Trump administration official and a Gulf official who asked not to be identified in order to discuss diplomatic negotiations said further steps to open borders between Qatar and the Emirates and Bahrain were expected on Tuesday. But the final shape of the deal, which has been under discussion for several months, was still in flux, according to the New York Tİmes.

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