Saudi foreign minister says resolution ‘close’ to end Qatar blockade

  • According to the Saudi foreign minister, a resolution of the Gulf crisis is in sight.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.

A resolution of the Gulf dispute is in sight, with all states involved “on board” and final accord expected soon, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan told AFP on Saturday.

Until recently, Qatar’s three-year blockade had appeared intractable.

Nonetheless, Prince Faisal said in an interview on the sidelines of a security conference in Bahrain that a breakthrough was imminent.

“We are in complete coordination with our partners in this process, and the prospects that we see are positive towards a final agreement,” he told AFP, adding that “the eventual resolution will require all parties concerned.”

“What we envision is a plan that covers all aspects and is adequate to all parties involved,” he said when asked whether the conflict was headed for a complete settlement, adding that it would happen “soon.”

Analysts had said that any success would likely extend only to ties between Doha and Riyadh, excluding the UAE specifically, which has been the most outspoken critic of Qatar since the crisis began.

However, Prince Faisal indicated that a much broader thaw is being negotiated, although Abu Dhabi and Bahrain have yet to weigh in on the progress of efforts to resolve the dispute.

In the interview, Prince Faisal also set out the region’s objectives on the chances of a new US nuclear agreement with Iran, following President-elect Joseph Biden’s defeat of President Donald Trump in November.

He said that the Gulf nations must be completely consulted if the process is revived, arguing that it was the only path towards a lasting agreement.

“Primarily what we anticipate is that we are fully consulted, that our other regional friends and we are fully consulted in what goes on, vis-à-vis the negotiations with Iran,” he said.

As Saudi looks ahead to building an alliance with the incoming US administration, the minister said he was confident Biden’s campaign pledge to turn the kingdom into a “pariah” over its human rights shortcomings was just election talk.

“I think electioneering brings out various kinds of comments, and I’ll leave them at that,” he said.

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