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UAE says supports Saudi efforts to resolve Gulf crisis

The UAE said Tuesday it supports Saudi efforts to end a three-year Gulf dispute, Abu Dhabi’s first reaction to recent statements suggesting the rift between four countries and Qatar could soon ease.

Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan told AFP last week that the kingdom and its allies the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt were “on board” to resolve the diplomatic crisis.

The Saudi-led alliance imposed an economic embargo on Qatar in June 2017 but an agreement to ease it is expected soon.

The UAE “supports Saudi Arabia’s benevolent efforts on behalf of the four countries”, tweeted Anwar Gargash, the Emirates’ minister of state for foreign affairs.

“It looks forward to a successful Gulf summit,” he added, referring to a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council regional bloc expected later this month.

The GCC is comprised of six member states — the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar.

Gargash also said his country appreciated efforts by Kuwait and the United States, countries which have both played mediation roles.

Analysts had said any breakthrough would likely only cover ties between Riyadh and Doha, excluding the UAE, the most vocal critic of Qatar since the crisis began.

But Tuesday’s statement will raise hopes that the Emirates could be included too.

Cairo on Tuesday also commented on the Gulf crisis, saying it appreciated Kuwait’s efforts to end the dispute.

“We hope that these commendable efforts will result in a comprehensive solution that addresses all causes of the crisis and guarantees strict and serious commitment to what will be agreed upon,” Egypt’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia led its allies to cut ties with Qatar because it viewed Doha as being too close to Iran and accused it of funding radical Islamist movements. Qatar has always staunchly denied those allegations.

The Saudi-led quartet subsequently forced out Qataris residing in their countries, closed their airspace to Qatari aircraft and sealed their borders and ports, separating some mixed-nationality families.

After severing ties, the countries issued a list of 13 demands for Qatar, including shutting down its broadcaster Al-Jazeera and downgrading relations with Turkey.