Qatar official sees ‘some movements’ toward ending boycott…

Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, left, and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, right, address the media after a meeting at the foreign office in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (Wolfgang Kumm/dpa via AP)

AP . Fri, December 4, 2020, 10:29 AM GMT+1
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Qatar’s foreign minister said Friday that his energy-rich nation has seen “some movements” toward resolving the boycott of Doha by four Arab nations.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani cautioned that the crisis wouldn’t be immediately resolved in comments to Italy’s annual Mediterranean Dialogue.

He declined to offer any timetable nor any details of the negotiations. Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, recently visited Doha along with other American officials in an effort to help resolve the crisis.

Sheikh Mohammed said “this needless crisis needs to come to an end.”

“There are some movements that we hope that this will put an end to this crisis,” he said. “We believe actually that Gulf unity is very important for the security of the region.”

However, even he acknowledged a promised breakthrough over a year ago also fell apart. The four boycotting nations have not publicly acknowledged any coming breakthrough.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut ties to Qatar on June 5, 2017, just after a summit in Saudi Arabia in which Gulf leaders met with Trump. They say the crisis stems from Qatar’s support for extremist groups in the region, charges denied by Doha. Qatar has backed Islamists in the region, something strongly opposed by the UAE.

The crisis saw Qatar’s land border to Saudi Arabia closed and its state-owned Qatar Airways blocked from access the airspace of the four countries.

The four nations also have pointed to Qatar’s close relationship with Iran, with which it shares a massive offshore gas field that provides the peninsular nation its wealth. Qatar restored full diplomatic ties to Iran amid the dispute. Sheikh Mohammed defended Qatar’s ties to both Iran and Turkey, which has a small military base in Doha, during his remarks.

Qatar is a valued partner of the U.S. Some 10,000 American troops are hosted at Qatar’s Al-Udeid Air Base, which also serves as the forward headquarters of the U.S. military’s Central Command.

Qatar also will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

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