Saudi Arabia to lift embargo on Qatar

Tuesday, 05 January 2021 17:29:35 (GMT+3)   |   Istanbul

In the run-up to the Leaders' Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on January 5 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia has taken the first steps towards the resolution of its tensions with Qatar.

Accordingly, efforts to end a multi-year-long blockade on Qatar were stepped up on January 4, with Kuwaiti foreign minister Amhad Nasser Al Sabah as the mediator announcing that Riyadh will be opening its airspace, land and sea borders with Qatar as of the evening of the same day.

Qatar’s borders have been closed since mid-2017, when Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain imposed a blockade against it, accusing Qatar of supporting Islamist groups in the region and of having cordial ties with Iran. Meanwhile, the loss of its steel market share in the GCC region as a result of the embargo has pushed Qatar to search for new destinations for its supplies. Accordingly, lately Asia and in particular, Turkey have appeared among the non-traditional destinations of ex-Qatar rebar and billet. With the lifting of the blockade, Qatar would resume steel shipments to the GCC region, though also keeping a focus on more profitable sales destinations, SteelOrbis believes.

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