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Qatar snubbed by Saudi King over emergency summits

May 20, 2019 at 3:43 pm

King of Saudi Arabia, Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on 29 March 2019 [Bandar Algaloud/Saudi Kingdom Council/Anadolu Agency]

Arab leaders have been forced to call emergency meetings following last week’s escalation of tension in the region, but Qatar has not received an invitation to the summits.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman yesterday suggested two summits be held on 30 May after drone attacks on oil installations in the Kingdom and attacks on four vessels off the coast of the UAE.

Gulf and other Arab leaders are expected to take part in the emergency meetings, but Qatar appears to have been snubbed. This was announced on Twitter by the director of the Foreign Ministry Information Office. Citing State Minister for Foreign Affairs Soltan Bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, the ministry said: “Qatar, which is still isolated from its neighbours, did not receive an invitation to attend the two summits.”

Saudi Arabia and it’s allies, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt launched an air, sea and land blockade against Qatar in June 2017 accusing it of supporting terrorism and having close ties with regional rival Iran. Doha vehemently denies the accusations saying the embargo is an attack on its sovereignty.

It’s not clear if a belated invitation will be extended to Qatar.

READ: Despite blockade, Qatar ships additional gas to UAE

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al Jubeir directed criticism at Qatar during a press conference in Riyadh yesterday. Al Jubeir, who was removed from his previous post of foreign minister following the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last October, urged Qatar stop supporting extremists and terrorists and return to the fold.

Lulwa Al-Khater, spokesperson for Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, describing Al Jubeir’s remarks as “regrettable irony”. “[Al Jubeir] began by the need for reunification of visions, the Arab and Gulf ranks, and then attacked the State of Qatar, wondering how the two things are right,” she said.

According to Al-Khater, the Saudi Minister “forgot or pretended to forget that the policies practiced by the four countries that [have] impose[d] a blockade on the State of Qatar for more than two years are policies that split the Gulf, creating a rift in joint Arab and Gulf action, and exerting pressure not only on the State of Qatar but on a number of Arab countries.”