Reconciliation on horizon in row among GCC members

The two-year row between Qatar and its immediate neighbors, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates appear headed towards a breakthrough following repeated mediation by Kuwait and other countries worried over the fallout from continued estrangement within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid this week handed Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz a message from His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who has recently urged an end to the Gulf dispute.

In June 2017, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, as well as Egypt broke off diplomatic and transportation links with Qatar over its alleged support for extremist groups, and demanded that Qatar severe all such connection. Qatar has denied any connection to militant or terrorist groups and refused the conditions set by the quartet on the grounds that it infringes on its sovereignty.

The US, an ally of the five countries, has also renewed its efforts to defuse Gulf tensions as Washington is seeking to build an anti-Iran alliance. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week met Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman, days after he had talks with Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al Jubeir.