UAE to reopen all entry points with Qatar on Saturday

UAE to reopen all entry points with Qatar on Saturday
The United Arab Emirates will reopen all of its land, sea and air entry points with Qatar starting Saturday. (AFP)
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Updated 09 January 2021

UAE to reopen all entry points with Qatar on Saturday

UAE to reopen all entry points with Qatar on Saturday
  • UAE will work with Qatar to end all other issues through bilateral talks

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates will reopen all of its land, sea and air entry points with Qatar starting Saturday, state news agency WAM reported on Friday.

Khalid Abdullah Belhoul, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said the UAE will begin to end all measures taken against Qatar following the signing of the AlUla statement that includes the permanent solidarity agreement that will strengthen the unity and cohesion of the Gulf and Arab states.

He also said the UAE will work to reopen all land, sea and air ports for incoming and outgoing movement.

The relevant authorities in the country have been instructed with these measures, which will be activated as of January 9, he added.

The UAE’s General Authority of Civil Aviation said it will resume scheduled and unscheduled flights between the two countries in coordination with the civil aviation authorities and national airlines in the Emirates.

He said that the UAE will work with Qatar to end all other issues through bilateral talks.

Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Nayef Al-Hajraf welcomed the UAE statement, saying it “reflects the great eagerness and sincere efforts to enhance the (bloc’s) strength, resilience and cohesion, preserve its gains, and its ability to overcome all obstacles and challenges.”

Saudi Arabia announced a breakthrough in ending a bitter dispute between Gulf Arab states and Qatar at a summit on Tuesday, with its foreign minister saying Riyadh and its allies would restore all ties with Doha severed in mid-2017.

(With Reuters)

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EU, Turkey call for better ties after tough 2020

EU, Turkey call for better ties after tough 2020
Updated 6 min 52 sec ago

EU, Turkey call for better ties after tough 2020

EU, Turkey call for better ties after tough 2020
  • Turkey faces threat of EU economic sanctions over a hydrocarbons dispute with Greece in the eastern Mediterranean

BRUSSELS/ANKARA: The European Union and Turkey pressed each other on Thursday to take concrete steps to improve relations long strained by disagreements over energy, migration and Ankara’s human rights record.
Turkey, which remains an official candidate for EU membership despite the tensions, is facing the threat of EU economic sanctions over a hydrocarbons dispute with Greece in the eastern Mediterranean, but the mood music between Brussels and Ankara has improved since the new year.
“We have seen an improvement in the overall atmosphere,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said as he welcomed Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu for talks, describing 2020 as complicated.
“Intentions and announcements need to be translated into actions,” Borrell said.
The improved tone follows a video conference between Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on Jan. 9 in which both stressed the importance of the bilateral relationship.
Cavusoglu said he hoped von der Leyen and Charles Michel, the head of the European Council which represents the 27 EU member states, would visit Turkey after an invitation from Erdogan.
“It is of course important for there to be a positive atmosphere in Turkey-EU ties, but in order for this to be sustainable, we must take concrete steps,” Cavusoglu added.
2020 proved particularly difficult for relations between Turkey and the EU, especially France, with Erdogan expressing publicly his hope that protests in French cities would topple President Emmanuel Macron.
Greece and Cyprus, strongly backed by France, want to punish Turkey for what they see as provocative oil and gas exploration by Turkish vessels in disputed waters, but Germany and Italy are reluctant to go ahead with any sanctions on Ankara.
Turkey has now withdrawn the vessels and is set to restart talks with Greece, although the EU has accused Ankara of playing “cat and mouse” in a pattern of provocation and reconciliation.
EU leaders will decide in March whether to impose sanctions.
Brussels also accuses Erdogan of undermining the economy, eroding democracy and destroying independent courts and media, leaving Turkey’s bid to join the EU further away than ever.
“We remain concerned about the (human rights) situation in Turkey,” Borrell said on Thursday.
The European Parliament is expected on Thursday to back a resolution calling for the release of Selahattin Demirtas, a leading Kurdish politician jailed in 20216 on terrorism-related charges.
But Turkey remains a big destination for EU trade and investment and also hosts some 4 million Syrian refugees. The EU aims to agree fresh funds for the refugees from 2022 to discourage them from coming into the bloc.
Ankara wants progress on Turks’ right to visa-free travel to the EU, an upgrade of its trade agreement with Europe and recognition of its claims to hydrocarbons off its maritime shelf.