Faisal: Allies ‘on board’ for resolution of Gulf crisis

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Manama

A resolution of the Gulf diplomatic crisis is in sight, with all nations involved “on board” and final agreement expected soon, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan told AFP on Saturday.
Until recently the three-year dispute, pitting a group of regional nations against Qatar, had appeared intractable, but Prince Faisal said in an interview on the sidelines of a security conference in Bahrain that a breakthrough was imminent.
“We are in full coordination with our partners in this process and the prospects that we see are very positive towards a final agreement,” he told AFP, adding that “the eventual resolution will involve all parties concerned”.
“What we envision is a resolution that covers all aspects and is satisfactory to all parties involved,” he said when asked whether the dispute was headed for a full settlement, adding that it would happen “soon”.
Saudi Arabia led its allies the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt to cut ties with Qatar in June 2017, saying it was too close to Iran and funding radical movements — charges it staunchly denies.
Prince Faisal indicated however that a much broader thaw is being negotiated — although Abu Dhabi and Manama have yet to weigh in on the progress of efforts to resolve the crisis.
He said that the Gulf states must be fully consulted if the process is revived, warning it is the only path towards a sustainable agreement.
“Primarily what we expect is that we are fully consulted, that we and our other regional friends are fully consulted in what goes on, vis-a-vis the negotiations with Iran,” he said.
As Saudi Arabia looks ahead to building a relationship with the incoming US administration, the minister said he was confident Biden’s pledge to turn the kingdom into a “pariah” over its human rights failings was just election talk.
“I think electioneering brings out all kinds of comments, and I’ll leave them at that,” he said.
Meanwhile, the emir of Kuwait thanked King Salman on Saturday for his efforts to resolve regional tensions.
In a letter that he sent to the king, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said the Kingdom’s representation of the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt reflects its prestigious position and its pioneering role in seeking to support security and stability in the region.

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