In a bid to enhance Arab unity and promote reconciliation, the State of Kuwait last week hosted meetings of official delegations between Qatar and Egypt, and Qatar and the UAE. The meetings are the result of the Al-Ula Declaration that was announced and signed at the 41st GCC Summit on January 5 this year.
The Declaration paved the way for the GCC and Egypt to commence normalization of relations and resumption of diplomatic ties with Qatar. The Summit, also known as the “Summit of Sultan Qaboos and Sheikh Sabah” represented the hopes and aspirations of the region’s peoples for restoration of cooperation and the bonds of Arab brotherhood amongst all the member states.
In addition, efforts are also underway to promote stronger ties and Arab unity between the GCC States and Egypt on the one hand and strengthen Egyptian-Qatari ties on the other.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan described the Al-Ula Declaration as “A solution to all areas of differences and a restoration of all diplomatic ties” adding that “It will be a strong and important foundation to the future of the region and its stability”.
MECHSNISMS FOR UNIFIED ACTION
The Qatari and Emirati delegations discussed mechanisms and measures to implement the declaration and translate its provisions into action. They stressed the importance of maintaining Gulf unity and developing a joint course of action.
In the same context, Kuwait also hosted meetings of the Qatari and Egyptian delegations for the first time since the Al-Ula summit. They sought to restore and promote bilateral ties in face of threats in the region. The two delegations lauded measures taken by each other as a confidence-boosting measure after signing the Declaration.
On January 12, Egypt decided to re-open its airspace to receive Qatari air flights after nearly a three and a half-year suspension.
On January 20, an Egyptian Foreign Ministry statement said that Egypt and Qatar have signed two memoranda of understanding to restore diplomatic relations between the countries.
On January 5, the Qatari Diar Real Estate Company announced the opening of the St. Regis Hotel in Cairo that it wholly owns. The move came a day before the Al-Ula Declaration.
On the same day Saudi Arabia declared the re-opening of land borders with Qatar after a three and a half-year spat.
Ahead of the GGC Summit, Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Sabah declared the re-opening of airspace and land and sea border between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Egypt’s former Ambassador to Qatar, Mohamed Morsi stressed the importance of taking all steps in the path of reconciliation and settling differences.
“Resolving differences and moving forward towards reconciliation are good steps. This means that things are on the right track,” Ambassador Morsi, also Egypt’s former assistant foreign minister, told Majalla.
The paramount aim of this move is to restore the unity, solidarity and coordination between the Arab countries to overcome huge challenges facing the countries in the present, he stressed.
“Coordination between Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE is the safety valve and vital for the joint Arab action now,’ he noted.
The ambassador added that solving the pending differences is one of the requirements of this cooperation.
Meanwhile the meetings have been welcomed with optimism by ambassadors and professors of Arab political affairs. They feel that the meetings hold the potential to bring the countries in question closer in the near future.
“We thank our Arab brothers who have adhered to the initiative of His Highness the late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on the reconciliation. Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim was enthusiastic for the settlement,” Dr. Maryam Al-Kandari, Professor of Political Sciences at Kuwait University, told Majalla.
“No real development can be achieved in the Arab countries without diplomatic dialogue and peace,” she added. “Egypt also supported the reconciliation for the sake of maintaining the unity of the Arab countries. Egypt has considerable influence in the region, and a leading position.”
Dr. Kandhari added that the potential of Arab nations had been vitiated in wars. “We as Arab brothers look forward to achieving peace,” she said.
Egypt’s signature on the Al-Ula Statement underscored its influence in Arab affairs and the strengthening of diplomatic ties between Egypt and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states.
POSITIVE ECONOMIC IMPACT
The reconciliation will have positive impacts not only on the political field but also on the economic one. It will promote economic cooperation between the countries if things will go within a legal and transparent framework.
“When the crisis happened, I expected that it would lead to a negative impact on the regional economy,” Dr. Amani Bouresli, Professor of Finance at Kuwait University and Former Minister of Industry and Commerce, told Majalla, “Political instability negatively affects the economy, and local and foreign investors. The reconciliation will have a positive impact on the economic field, capital inflows, trade and foreign investments in the region,” she elaborated.
Kuwait will host further meetings in coming period with the aim of signing deals by the parties organizing their relations, she noted, expressing her optimism about the reconciliation and the promotion of economy between the countries.
She, however, asserted that all future economic deals must be nurtured within a strong legal framework that would be transparent and organized in order to reap the benefits of the reconciliation.
Investors want a guarantee that all differences were resolved and the upcoming meetings should put into consideration the interests of investors and traders all over the world, she pointed out. The economic agreements to be signed by the parties should guarantee for investors that their investment will be safe and not affected by any possible disagreements, the professor made clear, ruling out differences in the future.
Voicing optimism, Bouresli stressed that all differences between the four countries and Qatar will be resolved and are not going to recur even if they take time to completely unknot.
Against the backdrop of a challenging period, statesmen and experts alike have applauded Kuwait’s efforts to follow up on the Al-Ula Declaration and implement its provisions. The need for Arabs to stand united is urgent in the face of these testing times.