Arab countries agree to end years-long feud with Qatar that divided Gulf

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman embraces Qatar's Emir ahead of the summit in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

(CNN)Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies agreed on Tuesday to restore diplomatic relations with Qatar and restart flights to and from the country, ending a three-year boycott of the tiny gas-rich nation.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar in mid-2017 after accusing the country of supporting terrorism. Qatar has repeatedly denied the accusations.
The boycotting countries, known as the Arab quartet, also cited political differences with Qatar over Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. Doha, unlike its Gulf neighbors, has friendly relations with Tehran, supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and has hosted groups affiliated with the Islamist group.
    Qatar's only land border -- which it shares with Saudi Arabia -- was sealed shut. Boycotting countries closed their airspace to Qatar, and nearby Bahrain and the UAE closed their maritime borders to ships carrying the Qatari flag.
      "Whether it's the returning of diplomatic relations, flights ... all of that will go back to normal," Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal told a news conference, announcing a declaration between the nations had been signed.
      The signing took place during the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in the Saudi city of al-Ula, where Qatar's leader Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Thani met former regional foes.
      Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received Sheikh Tamim, who set foot on Saudi soil for the first time since the start of the crisis, on the airport tarmac. The two leaders hugged, and images of the warm welcome were widely shared on regional social media.
      Sheik Tamim described the agreement in a tweet as a "defining moment."
      "I thank the brothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the generous welcome and I thank the brotherly State of Kuwait for its valued efforts," he wrote.
      UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash said he was optimistic the agreement would be implemented quickly, but he was more cautionary about future relations with Qatar.
      "Of course, you always know that following a rift such as the one that we have had, the issue of rebuilding confidence is one that takes time, takes some energy and takes a lot of transparency," he told CNN's Connect the World.
      Few concrete details have been given of what the agreement actually entails, nor were there any insights into the role of Iran in the leaders' talks.
      Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif congratulated Qatar in a tweet "for the success of its brave resistance to pressure & extortion" following the declaration.