Yousef al-Otaiba said there were pledges to “ ease things up ” as Gulf countries work to end the dispute with Qatar.
There were “seeds of progress” in resolving a long-standing Arab Gulf dispute and a commitment to “calm things down” as the parties work towards a solution to end the rift with neighboring Qatar, according to the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates in Washington. .
Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba’s comments on Tuesday to a US think tank were more cautious than those of Saudi Arabia’s ally, whose foreign minister said last week had made significant progress and that a final deal was at hand.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a diplomatic, trade and travel blockade on Qatar in June 2017. Kuwait and the United States’ mediation efforts have failed to end to the crisis.
“I think there is definitely progress or at least there are seeds of progress,” al-Otaiba told the Hudson Institute via video conference in Abu Dhabi’s most concrete remarks since Kuwait announced on Friday a move towards a resolution.
“There are a lot of commitments… to tone things down, to pull out. If it holds up, I think it’s promising. I think there is a chance that you can at least start a process of deconfliction, ”al-Otaiba said, adding that time would tell if that would hold to allow“ some kind of concept of a solution ”.
Qatar has also been more cautious in its public remarks, with its foreign minister expressing hope that things are going in the right direction.
Earlier on Tuesday, in the UAE’s first public comment on recent developments, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash praised Saudi Arabia’s “benevolent efforts on behalf of the four states,” adding that the UAE eagerly awaited a “successful” Gulf. Arab summit, due to take place in Kuwait this month.
Egypt’s foreign ministry also welcomed the developments on Tuesday.
“We hope that these laudable efforts will lead to a comprehensive solution that addresses all the causes of the crisis and guarantees a strict and serious commitment to what will be agreed,” said a statement from the ministry.
All the countries concerned are allies of the United States. Qatar is home to the largest US military base in the region, Bahrain is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are home to US troops.
Boycotting countries accuse Qatar of pursuing an independent foreign policy and have issued 13 demands, including loosening ties with regional rival Iran, closing a Turkish military base in Qatar and shutting down the Al Jazeera network Media Network.
Doha has promised to maintain its policies and has been reluctant to respond to any demands that undermine its sovereignty.
The quartet then expelled the Qataris living in their country, closed their airspace to Qatari planes and sealed their borders and ports, separating some families of mixed nationality.