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Gulf crisis: Saudi Arabia suspends dialogue with Doha, saying Qatar distorting facts

The Breakthrough In Relations Of Both Countries Came After United States President Donald Trump Spoke Separately With The Leaders Of Saudi Arabia, Qatar And The UAE.

PTI | Updated on: 09 Sep 2017, 09:17:38 AM
Saudi-Qatar rift: Saudi Arabia suspends dialogue with Doha, accuses distorting facts. (File Photo)


Saudi Arabia has suspended any sort of dialogue with Qatar, accusing it of distorting facts. The suspension of dialogue came soon after a phone call between the rulers of both countries offered hope of a breakthrough in the three-month-old rift.

According to state media from both sides, Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, spoke to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to express interest in talks.

It is the first public dialogue between the leaders after the US president offered to mediate in the crisis. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar amid a deepening rift between Gulf Arab nations.

The crown prince "welcomed this desire," the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) initially reported, adding "details will be announced after Saudi Arabia reaches an agreement with UAE and Bahrain and Egypt". But the prospect of a thaw quickly died down after SPAsubsequently accused Qatar's state media of wrongly implying that Saudi Arabia had initiated the outreach.

"What was published by Qatar News Agency is a continuation of Qatari authority's distortion of facts," SPA said, adding that any dialogue was now suspended.

The breakthrough in relations of both countries came after United States President Donald Trump spoke separately with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.

In order to promote regional stability and countering the threat of Iran, the US President emphasised the unity among the United States'sArab partners.
To combat extremist ideology, terrorism and cut-off funding for terrorist groups, the President highlighted that all countries must follow through on commitments. Trump believed that dispute could be solved "fairly easily".

Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al- Ahmad Al-Sabah, a key figure involved in mediation attempts, met Trump and gave an upbeat assessment of his efforts so far.

But it seemed that Qatar led bloc is not interested to reunite again as it questioned the Kuwaiti emir's statement that Qatar would be willing to accept their 13 demands.

The list of demands includes shutting of Doha-based broadcaster Al-Jazeera, closing a Turkish military base in the emirate and downgrading Qatari diplomatic ties with Iran.

The bloc also voiced "regret" about the Kuwaiti ruler's statement "on the success of mediation in stopping military intervention". Instead, the four Arab states stressed that "the military option has not been and will not be considered" under any circumstances.

Kuwait has emerged as a key mediator in the crisis, while the United States has given mixed signals on its policy. Riyadh and Doha are both key allies of the United States.

Trump, who chose Saudi Arabia for his first overseas visit as president in May, two weeks before the crisis erupted, immediately expressed staunch support for Saudi Arabia.

Some other US officials including Secretary of State RexTillerson have adopted a more measured tone. Tillerson and Sheikh Mohammed announced in July they had signed an agreement to fight terrorism, built on decisions made at a Riyadh summit in May to "wipe terrorism from the face of the Earth".

Qatar hosts a huge US air base, home to the head quarters of Centcom -- the regional command which leads operations against the Islamic State jihadist group. Sheikh Tamim is set to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel for talks on September 15, in what will be his first trip to a western capital since the crisis began

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First Published : 09 Sep 2017, 09:14:43 AM

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