Qatar and Saudi Arabia stage reconciliation with a hug

The Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, embrace each other on arrival at al-Ula
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AFP / SAUDI ROYAL PALACE / BANDAR AL-JALOUD  -   Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (R) welcomes Amir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani (L) on his arrival in the city of al-Ula in north-west Saudi Arabia for the 41st summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

Gulf leaders have called the 41st Gulf Cooperation Council summit the summit of reconciliation. Over the last few days, gestures have been announced predicting a rapprochement between Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Doha. The most important of these was the announcement of the attendance of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Al-Thani, at the summit in Saudi Arabia, something he had not done since 2017. 

Kuwait, which has been the main mediator between the two sides, which are facing a blockade of Qatar established in 2017 by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, was responsible for announcing yesterday that the blockade is ending and that the air, land and sea space is being reopened. 

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AFP/ GIUSEPPE CACACE - This archive photo taken on 5 December 2017 shows an overview of the Gulf leaders attending the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit at Bayan Palace in Kuwait City

This news came even before the summit began, and it was therefore predicted that the agreements reached would bring the Gulf countries closer together. On their arrival at Al Ula airport in Saudi Arabia, the Qatar emir and the Saudi crown prince gave each other a warm embrace to stage the reconciliation.

The Emirate's foreign minister, Anwar Gargash, described this summit as "historic" through his Twitter account, stressing the need to restore relations with Qatar and return to the cohesion of the Gulf, after the four countries accused Doha of supporting terrorism and the Muslim Brotherhood, in addition to having strengthened relations with Iran.

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AFP/PALACIO REAL SAUDÍ/BANDAR AL-JALOUD - Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (R) welcoming the Emir of Kuwait, Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah (C), on his arrival in the city of A-Ula in north-west Saudi Arabia for the 41st summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

The delegations of the GCC member countries, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman, will be joined by Donald Trump's chief adviser, Jared Kushner, and by the Egyptian foreign minister, Sameh Soukry.

Although relations with Qatar will be the main issue at the summit, other aspects such as the management of the pandemic, the strength of the health systems, the vaccination campaign and the situation of Yemen will also be addressed by the Gulf leaders.