Signs Mount That Qatar Embargo May End as Mediation Gears Up

Signs Mount That Qatar Embargo May End as Mediation Gears Up(Bloomberg) — Efforts to resolve the standoff between Qatar and a Saudi-led bloc are gathering momentum, with an upcoming soccer tournament in Doha helping to pave the way for a possible breakthrough, according to a Gulf official with knowledge of the matter.The mediation is currently focusing on mending ties between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and will bring the United Arab Emirates on board later, the official said on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. and Bahrain have agreed to take part in the Gulf soccer cup in Qatar in November, more than two years after severing diplomatic and economic ties with their gas-rich Gulf neighbor. A senior Saudi official said in Washington last week that Qatar has also started taking steps to repair relations with its neighbors.As Saudi Arabia prepares for the blockbuster share sale of oil giant Saudi Aramco, signs are emerging that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is trying to resolve conflicts that have cast a shadow over the kingdom’s political stability. To that end, Prince Mohammed is also intensifying efforts to conclude the four-year war in Yemen.Qatar Taking Some Steps to Resolve Tensions, Saudi Official SaysThe U.A.E., Saudi Arabia’s main ally, has already pulled out most of its troops from Yemen as it seeks to ease tensions with Iran after a string of attacks on oil targets in the region raised fears of an all-out war.The Saudi-led war in Yemen against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and the crisis with Qatar were widely seen as signs of a more aggressive foreign policy by Prince Mohammed and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.The two countries, joined by Bahrain and Egypt, accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and being too close to their regional rival Iran, a charge Doha repeatedly denied. Previous attempts to resolve the crisis have failed despite mediation efforts by Kuwait and the U.S..Kuwait is playing a key role in the current push, the Gulf official said. The country, which has taken a more neutral stance in the feud, had urged Saudi Arabia to participate in the games as a goodwill gesture meant to dial down the frictions.Company That Airlifted Cows to Break Saudi-led Boycott Plans IPOShortly before the the announcement, Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, an influential U.A.E. academic, hinted a breakthrough was imminent.“I bring good news to you about significant developments to resolve the Gulf dispute sooner than you think,” he said on Twitter.The tournament will be held between Nov. 24 and Dec. 6.\–With assistance from Abeer Abu Omar and Zaid Sabah.To contact the reporter on this story: Fiona MacDonald in Kuwait at [email protected] contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at [email protected], Alaa Shahine, Amy TeibelFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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