02:21 GMT24 January 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Saudi Arabia and Qatar are close to signing a preliminary agreement to resolve bilateral disputes and the prolonged Gulf crisis that has lasted for over three years, the Bloomberg news agency reported on Thursday, citing three sources familiar with the talks conducted by US President Donald Trump's administration.

    The agreement is likely to include the reopening of air and land borders, an end to the information war between Riyadh and Doha, as well as other steps to promote confidence as part of a plan to gradually restore relations, the sources said, adding that a potential breakthrough is due to occur after months of "intense diplomacy mediated by Kuwait" and a final push made by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner.

    The news agency reported that the deal will not involve the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt. Diplomats and analysts told the news outlet that Abu Dhabi, unlike Riyadh, was reluctant to rebuild its ties with Doha, preferring to focus on establishing relations with Israel "while carefully avoiding any escalation with Iran."

    Riyadh, in turn, expresses concern that the next US administration will exert less pressure on Tehran than Trump did.

    US news website Axios reported earlier this week that Kushner would pay a visit to Saudi Arabia and Qatar in the coming days and was expected to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in a bid to settle the regional conflict.

    US administration officials earlier stated they would try to resolve the crisis between Qatar and its neighbors before Trump left office. In 2019, the Qatari Foreign Ministry was negotiating with Riyadh to end the ongoing blockade and restore diplomatic ties, seeking a positive outcome, but all efforts had not borne fruit.

    June 2020 was marked by three years since the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar. Several other countries later did the same while others downgraded their diplomatic ties with Doha and introduced a total blockade of the country. The sides presented a 13-point list of demands, among which is the severance of Doha's alleged ties with various radical Islamist organisations.

    Qatar repeatedly denied all the charges related to terrorism, saying that the campaign against the country was based on lies.

    Tags:
    Gulf Crisis, Qatar, Saudi Arabia
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