Saudi Arabia to reopen Qatar embassy in coming days

Saudi Foreign Minister Farhan says kingdom ‘will restore full diplomatic relations with Qatar’.

Faisal bin Farhan says the issue is just a matter of logistics [File: AP Photo]

Saudi Arabia expects to reopen its embassy in Doha in the coming days, the kingdom’s foreign minister has said, following an agreement last week that ended a three-year-old dispute between four Arab countries and Qatar.

Asked about embassy reopenings, Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan told journalists in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, on Saturday the issue was just a matter of logistics.

“Our embassy will be reopened in Doha within days after completing necessary procedures,” he said in a news conference with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi.

The kingdom’s top diplomat said Saudi Arabia “will restore full diplomatic relations with Qatar”.

Saudi Arabia and its allies – the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt – in June 2017 imposed a diplomatic, trade and travel embargo on Qatar that included closing airspace to the country over claims it worked to support “terrorism” and was too close to Iran.

The countries released a list of 13 demands to be met for the blockade to end, including shutting down the Doha-based Al Jazeera Media Network.

Doha vehemently denied the allegations and demands, saying the blockade was meant to undermine its sovereignty.

Three of the Gulf Cooperation Council members – Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain – of the quartet agreed to lift the restrictions at a GCC summit earlier in the month in the Saudi desert city of Al-Ula after mediation by outgoing United States President Donald Trump’s administration as well as another GCC member Kuwait.

The countries have opened up their airspaces to each other and some flights have resumed.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar also reopened an important land crossing last week on the latter’s only land border.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies