Ankara welcomes outcome of GCC summit
“The expression of common will to resolve the Gulf dispute and the announcement of restoration of diplomatic relations with Qatar at the end of the 41st Gulf Cooperation Council held today in Al Ula, Saudi Arabia, is a welcome development,” the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement.
“We hope that the Al Ula Declaration signed at the end of the summit will lead to the ultimate resolution of the conflict,” it said.
It reiterated the importance Turkey attaches to the “unity and solidarity” within the GCC.
“With the restoration of mutual confidence among the Gulf countries, Turkey stands ready to further develop the institutional cooperation with the GCC of which Turkey is a strategic partner,” the statement added.
The summit was attended by Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, marking a breakthrough in a crisis that began in June 2017 when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar.
Embracing Qatar’s ruling emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pushed a deal to end a row with Doha at a Gulf summit on Jan. 5 to try to strengthen an Arab alliance against Iran, although a final declaration contained only a general pledge of solidarity.
The kingdom’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud said Riyadh and its Arab allies agreed to restore ties with Doha to end a boycott imposed in mid-2017, in a deal backed by Washington, but which a United Arab Emirates official suggested would take time.
While the communique contained no detailed confirmation of a deal, the apparent breakthrough signalled hope for mending a rift between major U.S. allies two weeks before President-elect Joe Biden takes office and at a time of tensions with Iran.
“There is political will and good faith” to guarantee the implementation of the deal, the Saudi foreign minister told a news conference, saying the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt had agreed to restore ties with Doha.
His Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, tweeted that leaders “closed the page on disagreement.”
But UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash voiced a more cautious view in remarks to Al Arabiya TV, saying “we need to be realistic about the need to restore confidence and cohesion.” He later told Sky News Arabia there was a timeline for ending the conflict but gave no details.
After a nearly three-year feud between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the two countries have agreed to reopen their airspace and borders. The emerging deal followed mediation efforts by the United States and Kuwait, and a U.S. official has said Qatar would suspend legal cases related to the boycott.
Those simmering tensions came to a boil in the summer of 2017, when the four countries announced their stunning blockade on Qatar, cutting all transport and diplomatic links. It also pushed Qatar diplomatically closer to Turkey and Iran, who both rushed to Doha’s aid with food and medical supplies as it was experiencing a shortage in the first days of the embargo. Patriotic fervor swept through Qatar in support of Al-Thani’s resolve.