White House source reports new diplomatic breakthrough in Middle East
UAE official calls normalization of ties with Israel ‘historic’
Qatar and four Arab countries prepare to sign an agreement to normalize relations
A senior Trump administration official announced a breakthrough in resolving a dispute between Qatar, Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries. Agreement to be signed in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
«We made a breakthrough in bridging the rift within the Gulf Cooperation Council», – said a source who wished to remain anonymous.
Washington has recently been pursuing active diplomatic efforts in the Middle East in the interest of creating a united front against Iran. As part of these efforts, several agreements have already been concluded or are under development, involving Israel and the Arab states. All countries involved in these deals are allies of the United States..
Jared Kushner, a senior adviser and son-in-law to the president, who was tasked with overseeing efforts to resolve the dispute, facilitated an agreement and conducted telephone calls until Monday morning, the source said. When the Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister announced in December that a resolution to the dispute seemed achievable, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in his «Twitter» expressed the hope that reconciliation in the Persian Gulf «will contribute to the stability and political and economic development of all peoples of the region».
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed diplomatic, trade and tourism embargoes on Qatar since mid-2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Qatar denies this and claims the embargo is intended to undermine its sovereignty.
According to an administration source, Kushner, as well as special envoy for the Middle East Avi Berkowitz and special adviser of the State Department Brian Hook will travel to the Saudi city of Al-Ula to attend the signing ceremony..
Arab Gulf leaders to gather in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for an annual summit expected to announce an agreement.
According to the source, the agreement provides for the end of the blockade of Qatar, and in return Qatar will abandon related claims..
The source added that the signing of the agreement is scheduled for January 5.
If the deal goes through, it will add to the list of diplomatic victories for the Kushner team, which also includes agreements to normalize relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco..
Kouchner has also worked on agreements to normalize relations between Israel and the rest of the Arab world, but this work may not be completed until the change of administration..
«This is just a huge breakthrough, – noted a source in the White House. – The blockade will be lifted. This will allow you to travel and transport goods between countries. This will increase stability in the region».