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UNITED NATIONS, Dec 05 (APP):UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has welcomed the efforts and contributions of Kuwait towards defusing tensions in the Persian Gulf region and beyond.

“The secretary-general is encouraged by the statement by the foreign minister of Kuwait and other reports that the Gulf rift is close to a resolution,” the Secretary-General’s Spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said in a statement issued at UN Headquarters in New York on Friday.

“The secretary-general welcomes the efforts and contributions of Kuwait in building bridges of understanding in the Gulf region and beyond,” the statement said.

The UN chief hoped that all countries involved in the dispute will work together to formally resolve their differences, and stressed the importance of Gulf unity for regional peace, security and development.

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Tensions in the region escalated after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a diplomatic and economic blockade on Qatar in June 2017, alleging that Doha supports terrorism and interferes in their domestic affairs. They also made a series of demands on Qatar to implement before ties could be revived.

On its part, Qatar repeatedly denied the charges, calling them “unjustified” and “baseless,” as well as rejecting the demands, calling them as violations of its sovereignty.