Progress may be made within weeks to end a three-year blockade of Qatar by Arab states, a senior U.S State Department official said on Wednesday, citing signs of “flexibility” in negotiations.
The dispute dates from 2017 when the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt imposed a boycott on Qatar, severing diplomatic and transport ties and accusing it of supporting “terrorism”.
Qatar vehemently denied all allegations.
Kuwait and the United States have tried to mediate a rift that has undermined Washington’s efforts to form a united front against Iran, which is struggling for regional supremacy with Saudi Arabia.
Washington has been involved in efforts to end the rift at the highest level, including President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The boycotting nations set 13 demands, including closing Al Jazeera Media Network, shuttering a Turkish military base, downgrading ties with Iran, and cutting links to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Qatar in July won a ruling at the International Court of Justice as it fights airspace restrictions by the other Arab states.
President Donald Trump, who has close relations with the Saudi and Emirati leaders, initially sided against Qatar, but the U.S has since tried to ease tensions.
In recent weeks, the U.S sealed a deal with the UAE to formally normalise its relations with Israel and has separately worked with Qatar to negotiate with Afghanistan’s Taliban.