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Qatar to attend Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia

Spokeswoman for the Qatari foreign ministry, Lulwa al-Khater

Doha has received an official invitation to the Arab League summit in Riyadh later this month, despite the ongoing boycott, Qatar’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Lulwa Al-Khater confirmed yesterday, according to the New Arab.

“The state of Qatar has received the invitation to participate in the Arab Summit, and will participate, but we have not yet decided the level of participation,” Al-Khater said in a statement.

Last month, Qatar participated in the preparatory meeting of the Arab League in Egypt after which Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani, told the Qatari Shura Council that the country would “attend the next Arab summit regardless of where it is held and the country that will host it”.

However, the Qatari announcement confirming their attendance comes just hours after Reuters quoted five US officials as saying that US President Donald Trump would delay the Camp David summit with Arab Gulf leaders, originally scheduled to take place in May, to September. The US had previously threatened to cancel the annual US-GCC meeting, if Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain did not lift their blockade on Qatar.

Read: ‘Bahrain will not seek reconciliation with Qatar,’ insists minister

President Trump also reportedly made two phone calls to the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz on Tuesday, stressing the need for a quick resolution to Gulf crisis.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE cut all diplomatic and financial ties with Qatar last June on allegations of the tiny Gulf state supporting terrorism; Doha has denied the accusations. The crisis has isolated Qatar from the regional Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), leading it to forge closer ties with Turkey and Iran, heightening tensions with the Arab quartet.

In a move to show its resolve, last month Qatar launched a five year plan to become self-sufficient in food and sustainable use of renewable energy. The 2018 to 2022 plan seeks to satisfy 30 per cent of its demand for farm animals and 65 per cent of its demand for fish domestically.

The small Gulf State has punched above its weight and is not only surviving the blockade but the impact seems to be “fading”, according to the International Monetary Fund’s preliminary assessment last month. No state has to-date been successful in mitigating the rift with Qatar, despite foreign pressure to resolve the dispute.

Read: The Qatar guide to surviving an economic boycott

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