Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman opened a Gulf Arab summit on Tuesday by taking aim at Iran and lauding a deal towards ending a long-running dispute with Qatar.
Prince Mohammed embraced Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, on the airport tarmac in the historic Saudi city of al-Ula, an important signal of hopes to bury a conflict between major U.S. allies in the Middle East two weeks before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
Leaders of the Gulf countries signed a document, although the contents were not immediately released.
Ahead of the gathering, Kuwait had announced that Saudi Arabia, which along with allies boycotted Doha in mid-2017, would reopen its airspace and borders to Qatar. A senior U.S. official said the deal would be signed in the presence of White House senior adviser Jared Kushner.
Kushner, tasked by U.S. President Donald Trump, his father-in-law, to work on the Gulf rift, was seen in the room in televised footage as Prince Mohammed delivered the opening speech.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar over allegations Doha supports terrorism, a charge it denies.