Qatar seeks to end isolation – Principles, guarantees eyed in Gulf rift

A mural of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, presented as a gift from the Qatari people in recognition of his efforts to mediate a resolution in the Qatar boycott, is seen at the Al Hamra Tower on Aug 10.

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 10, (Agencies): The concerned countries are currently studying the possibility of issuing a declaration of principles to solve the Gulf crisis, reports Al-Qabas daily quoting sources.

Disclosing that the declaration will consist of solutions to some disputes; sources said there will be American, Kuwaiti and European guarantees if the need arises. Sources said the declaration aims to calm down media tone among parties involved in the crisis, take out the Muslim Brotherhood file from the dispute, renounce Muslim Brotherhood members involved in certain lawsuits, and discuss the probability of sending a number of them to Turkey.

Sources added US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is keen on convincing countries which boycotted Qatar — Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Egypt — to give up 13 demands rejected by Qatar. Sources confirmed that talks are ongoing about a road map consisting of six points which include combating terrorism and financing terrorism.

Sources said the mission of the two American envoys to the region, starting from Saudi Arabia, is limited to solving the crisis and prevent is intensification; indicating the mission matches the Kuwaiti point of view. Meanwhile, Qatar introducing visa-free entry for 80 nationalities on Wednesday is the latest of several measures to end the emirate’s isolation two months into a crisis with its neighbours.

Isolated On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and the Maldives sever diplomatic ties with Qatar. They accuse it of supporting “terrorists” and of being too close to Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional rival. It is the biggest diplomatic crisis to hit the region in years.

The countries also impose economic sanctions, shutting down air, maritime and land links with Qatar. Qatar accuses its Gulf neighbours of seeking to put it under “guardianship” and of strangling it economically.

US fighter jets On June 14, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and his Qatari counterpart Khaled Al-Attiyah seal a $12-billion deal for the sale to Doha of F-15 fighter jets. Qatar is home to a huge US air base, where the headquarters of Centcom — the regional command which leads operations against the jihadist Islamic State group — is based.

Major gas project On July 4, energy-rich Qatar says it plans to increase natural gas production by 30 percent to 100 million tonnes a year by 2024.

Partnership with Total On July 11, Qatar Petroleum and French energy giant Total announce the launch of a 25-year joint venture to develop the Al-Shaheen oil field, off Qatar’s northeastern coast. Italian warships On Aug 2, Qatar announces a five-billion-euro order for seven warships from Italy.

War games with Ankara From Aug 1 to 7, Qatar and Turkey hold military exercises in the emirate that involve some 250 Turkish troops and 30 armoured vehicles. Sanctions imposed on Doha have led Qatar to turn to Turkey and Iran for its food needs.

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