Leaders of Qatar, Saudi Arabia speak by phone amid ongoing crisis

by Abel Hampton September 11, 2017, 0:14
Leaders of Qatar, Saudi Arabia speak by phone amid ongoing crisis

President Trump's plan to de-escalate the tensions between Saudi Arabia and Qatar ended in failure this week after the two countries released conflicting statements hours after a phone call organized by Trump.

Both governments acknowledged a call between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, next in line to the kingdom's throne, and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

The Saudi state news service then responded with its own version of events, citing unnamed authorities, accusing Qatar of distorting the facts and declaring that dialogue between the two monarchies had been suspended.

"Crown prince Mohamed Ben Salman welcomed the Emir of Qatar's desire to open dialogue with the Arab four countries [Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt], with more details on starting the dialogue to be declared after communication with the Arab four countries" the Saudi official news agency published.

In Washington on Thursday, 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.

For its side, the Qatari news agency said that the conversation between both leaders was based on the coordination of US President Donald Trump and that they stressed the need to resolve the crisis "by sitting down to the dialogue to ensure unity and stability of the GCC countries".

"The statements made by the Qatari Foreign Minister hot on the heels of those made by His Highness Emir of Kuwait confirm Qatar's rejection of dialogue unless the boycott measure taken by the four countries to protect their sovereignty and interests in a legal way have been lifted".

Leaders of Qatar, Saudi Arabia speak by phone amid ongoing crisis
Leaders of Qatar, Saudi Arabia speak by phone amid ongoing crisis

The crisis began soon after Trump visited Saudi Arabia in May, where he called for concerted action against terrorism and accused Iran, which has close relations with Qatar, of fueling instability in the region.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed ties with Qatar on 5 June, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups - a charge it denies.

Trump added that he believed the crisis could be solved "fairly easily".

Earlier on Friday, Trump held separate phone calls with the Qatari and Saudi rulers as well as UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

But any hope of diplomatic progress was swiftly dashed after what Al Jazeera called a "protocol mishap".

The draft resolution, distributed to the full Security Council membership, may be put to a vote early next week, with the United States calling for a vote on Monday.

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