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There is a new initiative to end Gulf crisis: FM


Tribune News Network


Doha


Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said on Friday that there is a new initiative to end the three-year-old Gulf crisis and that Qatar is open to negotiations.


“We hope the initiative will produce results, we are open to dialogue and ready to meet each step forward with 10 steps from our side,” Sheikh Mohammed told Al Jazeera in an interview that aired on Friday, the third anniversary of the blockade.


On June 5, 2017, fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, along with Egypt, a non-council member, severed all political, trade and travel ties with Qatar.


At the time, the boycotting nations set 13 demands for lifting the blockade, including closing down Al Jazeera media network, shuttering a Turkish base and downgrading ties with Iran. Qatar promptly condemned all demands as a breach of sovereignty.


“We hope this initiative is different than previous ones and it is taken seriously,” Sheikh Mohammed said, adding that there were some talks with Saudi Arabia at the end of 2019, but the process later stopped.


Washington has launched a new push on the blockading countries to reopen Gulf airspace for Qatari airlines as a first step towards ending the three-year crisis, according to reports this week in US media.


The White House is particularly concerned over so-called “overfly fees” that Qatar pays to Iran to use the airspace, US officials told the Wall Street Journal.


“There is a greater sense of urgency to resolve the airspace issue,” said one US official.


Qatar hosts the biggest US military base in the region.

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