Gulf leaders sign agreement ending dispute with Qatar at summit

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Cairo, Jan. 5, 2021 Gulf leaders have signed an agreement ending their three-year diplomatic rift with Qatar at a summit in Saudi Arabia.

The Al-Ula agreement, which was brokered by Kuwait and the United States (U.S.) ends the dispute that began in mid-2017 when a Saudi-led bloc severed diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and non-Gulf country Egypt had accused Qatar of supporting Islamist militant groups, an accusation that Doha denies.

All of the countries are U.S. allies.

Qatar hosts the region’s largest U.S. military base, while Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, and Saudi Arabia and the UAE host U.S. troops.

The development is the latest in a series of Middle East deals sought by Washington – the others involving Israel and Arab states – aimed at building a united front against Iran.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, assigned to work on the dispute by President Donald Trump, was due to attend the ceremony in the historic city of al-Ula along with Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz and Brian Hook, a special State Department adviser.

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